A List & Call for Creature Comforts
When under the thumb of a migraine, time can pass so slowly. Minutes seem like hours, hours like days. When the pain is daily, it becomes key to find ways to get comfortable; to pass the time; and to try to lessen or avoid the pain altogether. As someone who has navigated life with chronic migraines for many years, I have sought out and found various effective ways to offset and ease the discomfort of migraine as well as to address the increased sensitivity to the world that migraines can cause.
All of us who face frequent migraine have worked hard to find effective creature comforts to help along the way. For me, creature comforts can make the difference between migraines that last a few hours to ones that drag on for days. Seems a shame to keep these findings to ourselves. To that end, I am sharing mine here and invite you to do the same in the comment section below. That said, what works for me might not work for you and this article is certainly not meant as an endorsement of products listed. We merely want to encourage a sharing of resources and ideas in hopes that people might find new ways to lessen their pain.
Sensitivity to sound:
I’m the mom of kids who play sports in unbearably noisy gyms. I’ve missed more games than I care to admit because of migraines but I’ve also had to leave many games early because the noise sent me over the edge. “EarPeace” earplugs were recommended to me by my sister who works in a music venue (they are designed specifically for music professionals) and are the best I’ve found because they block high end noise but still allow you to hear conversations in your vicinity. I literally could not attend sporting events without these.
Sensitivity to light:
Investing in a great pair of polarized sunglasses is priceless for people with migraines. One of our contributors at Migraine.com has started her own sunglass company called “Theraspecs”. For me, also having a hat handy to block bright lights outside or inside has become key ingredient in my purse.
I’m grateful for my handy husband who has installed dimmers on the lights in nearly every room in our home. This makes a huge difference in my comfort.
Sensitivity to smells:
We can’t control our external environment. Being exposed to smoke, strong perfume, or car exhaust fumes can set off or exacerbate a migraine. I keep a Duff headband in my bag to whip out for just such an occasion. These headbands are made of soft material and are sewn into a circle. They can be worn around the neck as a scarf, or pulled over the head. I pull it up to cover my mouth and nose when in a stinky situation.
Everyone responds differently to extreme temperature. For me, a soft, flexible (gel-filled) ice pack on the back of my neck when I feel a migraine coming on (or when I actually have one) is a source of great relief. Sometimes, an ice pack actually provides more help than medication. I use them so often that I bought three to keep cold and have on rotation. My chiropractor sold them along with soft flannel covers (comfort is key!). A fellow migraineur gave me the tip that coupling an ice pack at the base of the neck with a heating pad at the base of the spine can decrease migraine pain.
One of my all time favorite go-to’s for pain management is a product called “BioFreeze”. It’s a pain relieving gel that leaves the skin feeling cool. I have it in the roll-on form and use it on the back of my neck regularly. When out and about in the world, it makes me feel like I’m in the comfort of my own bed with an ice pack.
I turn to ginger ale quite often to offset nausea and calm my stomach after vomiting. I like the strongest taste of ginger possible and my favorite brand is called “Q”. At a restaurant recently when I thought I’d have to leave due to nausea, the waitress noticed I looked a bit green and offered to put some aromatic bitters in some ginger ale. Just a few drops. It settled my stomach immediately. I’ve bought some now to mix with ginger ale at home. Any brand will do.
Getting your mind off the pain is important and in my opinion can ease its intensity. I’m a big podcast subscriber as well as TV binge watcher. Diving into the dramatic worlds of others can do a great deal to take the focus off of extreme pain.
I look forward to seeing what others might share. What have you discovered that helps ease, address, and get you through a migraine?
How much has your migraine disease changed or evolved over time?