When you can feel an attack coming, you need instant migraine relief. If you don't use ice yet, you should. Ice works much better for pain reduction than heat. Let me tell you why.
Ice contracts your blood vessels that have enlarged or dilated too much, and heat does the opposite.
I use a lot of different things to help manage my attacks and using ice packs gives me instant migraine relief.
They are my number one go to.
Ice constricts your dilated blood vessels, which is just what you need.
For too many years I slept on hot water bottles to help ease the pain, all the time not knowing I was really making it worse.
So don’t use heat like I used to, and get the wrong reaction.
Getting it wrong increases the pain phase and duration. So it hurts more and can make your migraine last longer.
I used to have ten day long migraines and not one person asked me if I used ice or heat. Not one! And let me tell you, I have seen and continue to see a lot of specialists.
Please don't suffer needlessly... experiment with both and see what works for you.
If you have tension headaches, heat will help relax muscles.
Make sure you know your diagnosis so you can be precise on where you want to place the heat and ice. And when it comes to migraine pain... think ice, dark room, lying down to rest...
Have I convinced you to try it?
Click here to learn how to abort an attack using both ice and heat at the same time.
When I try to ignore my signals that an attack is on its way, I end up panicking and I sometimes reach for my medications too late.
Ice packs have saved me from suffering so many times, I can't tell you. I depend on my ice packs for pain relief.
A little story...
Before I saw reusable ice packs (for athletic injury) at my chiropractor’s office, I spent many nights sleeping on frozen bags of peas with mint in them (yuck!). I would wrap them in a tea towel to catch the moisture when they defrosted.
Thank goodness they sell minted peas here in Australia. I find the thought of minted peas disgusting... but, they worked well for molding around my head.
I used to hate waking up on soggy peas, but I was desperate for pain relief.
It's been years since I've had to do that, we are much more sophisticated now. I have two proper ice packs in my freezer at all times. They are part of my migraine prevention kit.
You need your ice pack to last long enough to deal with the entire pain phase. Click here to read about all 4 phases of migraine. Here's a good tip...
Mine have my name on them.
No one else is allowed to use them.
I still wrap the blue flat ice pack in my favorite tea towel, just for comfort. And sometimes, I roll up a small hand towel under one half so it curves around the right side of my head. Most of my pain is right sided.
Do you get the same side all the time or do yours change sides?
Did you know to apply ice to both sides of your neck and head, not just on the side with pain? The right side nerves go across the back of the neck to the left side, and vice versa. So alternating between each side will get you more instant migraine relief.
Plus it gives the other side a rest. Freezing your brain for days can't be good, but using ice as a treatment is essential.
I highly recommend that you have ice packs handy, so you can be prepared for the next attack. I even used to keep one in the freezer at work. Yup... covered and wrapped up with my name on it.
One more vital tip is to act fast. That first sensation means the process has begun.
If you act fast you will give your body a chance to abort the attack.
I did not know how crucial this timing was until I read Cynthia Perkins e-book Mindfulness over Migraines. So make sure you have some kind of pain management strategy in place. If that means medications - take them.
For more details on timing, check out my migraine pain management course. It's free to enroll.
Be willing to experiment with what works best for you, and then stick to it until you find something that works better. Ice packs will not let you down.
Finding instant migraine relief can be elusive. But using the tips above and ice packs will help you get off to a good start. Even better is to get an ice cap.
Here are some great ice hats and caps you can get on Amazon. I get a small commission from these sales that support the website... just so you know.
Until next time, be well and be pain free.