Last updated: April 2023
With all of the medications and treatments currently available for migraine, there are probably more combinations than I can count that a doctor may use to help their patients find relief. Unfortunately, for many people, the current options do not always work or do not work at all. Add in the number of OTC drugs available paired with all of the homeopathic remedies searchable on the internet, and a person could go absolutely mad trying to play Sherlock Holmes looking for that perfect pairing to cure what ails them.
What coping mechanisms do I use for migraine?
For this article, however, I would like to look in a different direction and discuss the coping mechanisms many of us have put in place to help get through the harder days. I’ve mentioned them in other articles, but mainly I have mentioned them in passing. I’d like to put more focus on them because, for most of us, these are the things we use even more than the medications we take while we fight through particularly bad migraine.
What combination do I use to find comfort?
The “migraine cave” is a really common coping mechanism. This usually involves blacked-out windows and a comfortable place to sit or lay. Some people cope simply by resting/sleeping through a migraine. For some, any room will work as long as they have a comfortable place to sit with their favorite blanket. Pets can function as coping mechanisms (often referred to as pain pals). Some people cope by massaging their heads and then others cope with meditation.
I’m sure that most of us use some combination of these or similar coping mechanisms when we face a severe migraine depending on what they are comfortable with. For myself, the best combination seems to be the cave and pain pals and cold flowing air.
What does my migraine cave do for me?
All of the coping mechanisms in the world won’t take the pain away, but for some reason, they seem to make the pain much more bearable. I do try and sleep when it's practical during a migraine, but the pain doesn’t always allow for sleep. Being in the cave doesn’t remove my photophobia, rather, it removes me from the extra pain I would be dealing with otherwise. The dogs are always up for cuddling up on the couch or the bed, and they serve as a mild distraction from the overwhelming discomfort.
How does cool flowing air help me?
The last mechanism I prefer is cold flowing air. I say it that specific way for a reason. For many people, a cool room can help with a number of things. For me however, I can be in a cool room and be sweating at the same time. I personally need to feel the cool air flowing to be comfortable. Typically, I achieve this using a fan. I can’t speak to why it helps, just that it does. The sound of the fan helps me too but that’s not so much of a migraine thing as it is a daily thing. The steady sound of the electric motor has a calming effect on me and helps me sleep.
What is your “go-to” coping mechanism when you are having a particularly bad day? How has it made surviving the bad days better?
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?