A woman closes her eyes behind a mask as glowing light of hot and cold surrounds her.

Free or Inexpensive Coping Tools for Migraine

Migraine treatments can be expensive, time-consuming, and sometimes hard to get approval for if you’re working with insurance. Over the years I’ve found some things that I use to help cope with my symptoms, no matter what my current treatment plan is. I thought I’d share a list of these tools in case it could be helpful. None of these are a cure, nor do they completely eliminate a migraine attack for me, but they do help in many different ways.

What free tools have I found to help migraine?

Online yoga videos. Certain yoga poses and stretches can help with the muscle stiffness that can come with migraine attacks. This video talks about how I approach yoga for migraine and lists some resources for finding free yoga online that can help.

Yoga Nidra. Though it has “yoga” in the name, yoga nidra is more like a full-body relaxation/meditation that can help you sleep or rest when you’re dealing with an attack. All you have to do is search “Yoga Nidra” in your web browser and many videos will come up.

Mindfulness for migraine. The nonprofit, Miles for Migraine, offers a mindfulness series every other Thursday night, and you can join for free! There are also a ton of free mindfulness videos online, and even though they're not usually focused on migraine, they can help regardless.

Homemade heating pad. Take an old sock, put some uncooked rice inside, and you have yourself a free heating pad! All you have to do is microwave it for a minute or two (be careful that it doesn’t get too hot) and you have moist heat.

Homemade ice pack. Much like the heating pad, you probably have all the items you need in your house. Take dish detergent, some other ingredients, put it in a Ziplock bag, close it up tight, and stick it in the freezer (I use the Simple Parent's DIY guide for this). After a little while, you will have icy relief!

Hot and/or cold shower. Maybe I don’t need to mention this one, but a shower can provide some relief, even if just temporary. I have a friend who alternates between hot water and cold water to help him feel better.

Screen dimmer tools. For both your phone and computer, there are likely tools that reduce blue light. For my laptop, I use f.lux, and my phone has a built-in control to reduce blue light. Play around with your settings until you find one that works for you!

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What inexpensive tools ($20 or less) have I found?

Ear plugs. If you’re sensitive to sound, earplugs can be helpful. I like the Ear Peace brand, although you can also get basic earplugs at your local pharmacy.

Eye mask. Like the ear plugs, you can find an eye mask from your local pharmacy. When you're not in a place where you can block out light, an eye mask can be extremely helpful.

Topical pain relief. Things like peppermint oil or icy hot can help take the edge off. I use something called a Migraine Stick to take the edge off.

Green light. Some studies have found that green light can be helpful for those who deal with light sensitivity. You can find green lightbulbs online for not too much money, and replace a regular lightbulb you have at home.

What have you used?

This is of course not a comprehensive list. It’s mainly a list of things I’ve used and find helpful. I hope maybe something on this list helps you, and I’d love to hear about anything you’ve used to cope that’s inexpensive or free!

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