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From the community: the crazy things that help

Community Thoughts -The “Crazy Things” That Help

We all know that sometimes the meds don’t work as well as we’d like them to in the case of Migraines. As one of our community members put it: “desperate times call for desperate measures.” Along those lines, a recent article on recounts the author wearing two pairs of sunglasses to battle an oncoming migraine while driving.

So we asked our Facebook community: “What crazy things have you found that help?” Here’s what you had to say!

I use household items in different ways…

  • I have found that a Ziploc bag of frozen peas (I keep two in the freezer in case I need another one) works very good for easing the pain. Any kind of pressure on my head makes it worse, and the peas are lightweight enough to allow me to get some relief & sleep it off.
  • Pop a rice pack in the microwave, peppermint oil (or Vick’s Vapo rub) under the nose & hot pack! If that doesn’t head it off a BC powder helps. If those don’t work I know to duck & cover the migraine train is on its way!
  • Lying on my dog’s chewed up bone, digging into the pressure point in my neck. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
  • I have a soft pillow I cover my head with like a band-aid:-)
  • I wrap a thick, black sock over my eyes.
  • I found a new thing that works for me, which is frozen Gatorade in ice cube trays to suck on when I’m so nauseated can’t keep anything down, and cold Gatorade from fridge if I can keep anything down. The second thing is a very, VERY hot shower on my shoulders and neck and top of my head (my hair hurts when I get a migraine) – followed by an icy cold pack from freezer on back of head and neck, The salt in Gatorade to calm stomach enough to accept imitrex and then maybe some coke …if I get this far, I know it will ease some. If I can’t keep down Gatorade, I don’t waste my time with abortive and go straight to shower… then try again.
  • I keep most of my second freezer filled with ice packs for my migraines. I like the medium sized Cryomax ones because they stay cold so long.
  • I work from home and my office has blackout curtains and a comfy sofa for switching to when I can’t handle sitting upright. When we video chat, my manager says it’s like seeing me working in a cave but it’s the only thing that gets me through the day. That and lots of peppermint oil!
  • I keep the blinds closed on sunny winter days (the blue reflections off the snow make me do a Dracula at dawn routine); keeping the shades on if there’s too much light, especially fluorescents and most especially “naked” ones like in track lighting or vanity fixtures.
  • Hot pad on my head face or neck. Traction can be a quick relief. I have an awesome hubby. My traction guy.
  • Grapes for dehydration.
  • Ice on the back of my neck helps
  • I bind my head very tightly with a long scarf and go to bed. Helps the pain but looks really strange.
  • Three ibuprofen chased with something cold and caffeinated, with a handful of salty potato chips (helps the nausea) is my go-to treatment. Usually works in about 30 minutes if it’s going to work.

I work with my body in ways that provide some relief:

  • I have my husband or son squeeze my head as hard as they can for about 30 seconds and then let go. It’s only a temporary pressure relief but I will take it.
  • I have someone squeeze the back of my neck as hard as they can. I’ve considered getting one of my fiancé’s vices and using it.
  • I let my jaw hang loose with my mouth open… It seems to relieve tension build up in neck and shoulders. It also makes me ignore the pain as the action is known to lower cognitive responses. Seriously try to do a math problem with your jaw hanging its strangely difficult. It also stops you biting down creating or increasing jaw tension.
  • I lay my arm across my already shaded eyes if need be. My photophobia is persistent, but gets worse in the premonitory phase.

 When out and about…

  • I find it’s mostly fluorescent lighting that messes me up. I wear my sunglasses at night and indoors at stores, restaurant etc. Bare bulbs are violent…that’s the word that best describes it for me.
  • I wore sunglasses in a cinema once, as I didn’t want my kids to miss the film.
  • Hoodie up indoors at the mall AND double diphenhydramine for sinus pressure and allergies which make the migraine worse, especially during the spring and fall weather blowout months.

I use specific tools:

  • My ophthalmologist recommended Maui Jim sunglasses for me. They can be made for your vision prescription. They do seem darker than other prescription sunglasses and the F 41 migraine glasses I see online. He said I would be addressing two issues with one pair.
  • Computer software for Apple computers makes the screens easier on the eyes. There aren’t any privacy screens but there is software: Screen Shades and Shades. You can slide the scale to make the screen darker when your eyes hurt and lighter if you need to make out something easier or your eyes don’t hurt.
  • Much of mine starts in my neck/base of skull; Biofreeze on neck, BedBuddy heating pad for the microwave and a ColPak from Amazon have helped.

How about you? What’s the craziest thing you’ve used to counter an oncoming migraine or provide relief during an attack?


  • d-m
    11 months ago

    I have developed Vestibular migraine after 50 years of migraine w aura, and have rocking sensation etc. 24/7. I sleep with a weighted blanket. Amazing! I sometimes take my three pound sandbag made for heating (do not heat) lay it across eyes with most of sand on sides of head to ease rocking vertigo. I use headphones to modulate the tinnitus (fan sound at night). Cold and hot therapies stated above. Sunglasses and earplugs in public spheres. Billed caps in lighted buildings. One or two trekker poles for balance. Hand held “massager” with nubs to roll across ears and neck and side of head affected by burning sensations, even while driving!) distracts confused brain signals. Soda crackers for nausea. Controlled coffee drinking (helps w head pain). Nasalide spray for swelling. Lots of water as preventative.

  • Danielle
    4 years ago

    If you use a PC, download f.lux. It’s intended to help you sleep better by using red light instead of the harsh blue. I use it all the time though whether I have a migraine or not. You can adjust the settings to what works for you.

    I use a similar app on my phone (android) called Twilight.

  • Fen-
    3 years ago

    Literally, the exact same! Twilight is such a lifesaver, means I can distract myself but not completely burn my eyes out.

  • MistyMae
    4 years ago

    When I can catch mine early enough I’ll take a couple Ibuprofen, even though I’m not supposed to due to a bleeding disorder but when your desperate you’ll do whatever, then I’ll go sit in my shower floor and cup one hand over my nose and mouth and hold the handheld shower head to my face with the water as hot as I can stand it and try to relax the best I can. I’ve sat in my shower floor sometimes until the water turns cold. Then if that doesn’t help I’ll take a couple benadryl and lay down with a cold wash cloth over my head and eyes with my arm across it and try and beg to drift off to sleep for just long enough to ease it up some. The latest ones I’ve had which this mth so far has been 3 and it’s only the 15th I’ve kept them for 3 days and 2 days of the “hang over” that follows. So far my dr only gives a toradol shot and says to take Ibuprofen. I’m looking for another Dr now!

  • Fen-
    3 years ago

    I do a variation on the shower thing! I always used to do hot relief, hot as possible, like you said. But now I use cold relief too, basically switching the shower between very hot and (kind of) cold; it doesn’t actually need to be very cold to feel shockingly cold, and by contrast it makes the hot water feel even hotter, without burning your skin.

    So nice to find other people having to do crazy shower things in order to get on with life. This method almost entirely takes it away (depending on how bad it is) but it does start to come back if I don’t take some other actions, painkillers and light-relief/rest.

  • Arcangel
    4 years ago

    Cold ice packs on my neck, forehead, and stomach, especially when I’m nauseous during an attack. It definitely helps with my nausea!

  • rebecca
    5 years ago

    Subway melts!With Subway’s sweetened tea. Second choice is McDonalds french fries

  • cancan
    5 years ago

    ……sent her to me!

  • Brandy
    5 years ago

    rose colored sunglasses at all times indoors & dark ones when outside. I’m very photophobic so I also often wear a pair of those really dark wrap around rolled “glasses” the eye Dr gives you whwn they dilate your eyes UNDERNEATH my regular pair. they aren’t attractive, but who cares when it comes to a migraine attack

  • Rema
    5 years ago

    These are my latest hacks:

    .I also do the Freeze Spray on my neck and forehead
    .Shiatsu neck massager has been a Godsend for helping to reduce the tension buildup in my neck
    .Club soda with powdered ginger for nausea

  • Maureen
    5 years ago

    These two things always feel good, but they are especially comforting when migraining.
    A kiss on the forehead right where it hurts. It is amazing the comfort that a kiss can give. You know, “Kiss it and make it better.”
    Also, my husbands cheekbones in my eye sockets. Face to face contact, warmth right where needed. This is usually kind of a goodbye… as in, goodbye, I’m going to lie down and I feel like I’m dying, but this good bye moment might help me survive yet another monster migraine.

  • thisisendless
    5 years ago

    I live across the street from the beach. It’s in San Francisco though so the water is ice cold. I have resorted to completely dunking myself in the ocean water and it feels so great. The shock and the cold always makes me feel better.

  • Ellen H
    5 years ago

    My “hair hurts.” I slide my fingers through my hair and grasp a bunch of hair and squeeze gently but firmly for a few moments. People who don’t have migraines don’t understand this!!

    Vick’s Vapo rub. I rub it all around my neck.

    Potato chips. Grapes if I can find good ones. Ginger Ale, regular not diet. Orange juice.

    Squeeze my head for a few seconds.

    Let my jaw hang loose. I also have an upper bite plane made by my dentist. The cost is rising but I can’t live without one. I wear it every night and with every migraine. I need to remind myself to wear it at any other time of day.

    Math is impossible even with a calculator.

    Lay a heavy chenille, velvet like blanket across my eyes in bed.

    LED light bulbs all over the house.

    I am beginning to love this website.

  • Bev Todaro
    5 years ago

    This may sound crazy, but I get relief from my dog. She lays across my eyes and blocks out all light. She knows when I’m in an attack always. I don’t even have to call her. She’s just there.Works for me.

  • cancan
    5 years ago

    Bev, et al….
    it is hard to believe but I was so very sick 4 years ago with many problems plus the migraines I’ve had for 73 years….I could barely walk, was extremely depressed, especially after losing my sweet dear Beagle and with so many other illnesses, I actually thought I was going to die!…We decided to look for a small dog (since I can no longer lift anything. On Petfinders I saw this darling Chihuahua and inquired about her….I swore I’d never have a Chihuahua because of hearing of their terrible dispositions…and after having 10 dogs over the years, I never dreamed I’d have a small dog though. But Pixie is the most docile, sweet, lovable little thing…weighs 9 lbs….and will not leave my side!!! If I moan with a migraine she can’t get close enough to me, AND she has me walking!!!! I can’t believe she is better than any amount I would pay for any kind of a doctor!!!! Thanks for this Crazy Thought on…I thought if I ever wrote about my dog rejuvenating me, you all would think I WAS THE CRAZY ONE!!! Yes, I still get migraines, and after 73 years I doubt they will go away, too many triggers…but my little Pixie consoles me curled up in my arms and would stay there all day long if I didn’t have to care for her, thus her getting me up and walking again. I may even write a little book, telling of my sweet little girl, I have never had one like her, she is the definition of a therapeutic animal, unbelievable!!!! I feel an Angel

  • marti
    5 years ago

    My cat helps me – I lie down and wrap a king sized pillow around my head. My 18 pound cat, Rudy, always crawls onto the pillow, and the weight, the warmth, and the slight vibration of his purring is as good as any medicine.

  • thisisendless
    5 years ago

    Aww I love that! <3 Doggies are so awesome. They do so much for us.

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