Three Strange Things That Ease My Migraine Pain
Last updated: April 2023
I try not to take the coping tools I use for migraine for granted. In addition to medications, lifestyle adjustments, and other work I continuously do to manage my disease, I have found several ways to cope when an inevitable attack breaks through my best efforts. They include ice packs, air conditioning, meditation, sleep, and tinted glasses.
But during an attack last week, I noticed that there are a few things that accidentally helped me feel better. They are not coping tools, but they eased the pain slightly. The migraine attack lasted several days and was quite exhausting. Because it lasted so long, life had to go on whether I felt good or not.
One morning, I decided to take a walk with my daughter. Luckily it was a cloudy day, though I still wore a hat and sunglasses. I noticed that the fresh air lowered my pain levels a few notches. This probably wouldn’t apply to a really severe attack where I am stuck in bed, but for a more moderate attack, it was great to find some temporary relief. I thought maybe the attack had abated, but as soon as I went back inside, my pain went back up. I had the AC on inside, so I can only attribute it to fresh air rather than temperature.
I’ve known for a while that eating something or even chewing gum can lower the pain. This is different than when someone has a hunger headache, and eating makes their headache go away. Instead, my migraine pain returns once I’m done eating, but while I’m biting, chewing, and swallowing, it’s lower. It doesn’t seem to matter what I eat, though I tend to crave carbs during an attack. Again, this isn’t a coping tool because I can’t just sit there and eat all day, but it is a welcome respite from the pain.
Though I said above that chewing helps, moving my jaw to speak makes the pain worse. I think it’s more about having to work my brain and form cohesive thoughts. My brain fog during attacks can be pretty pronounced, and I communicate much better via text than I do talking to someone in the same room. It almost feels like walking on a sprained ankle; it just makes the pain worse. However, if I stay quiet, much like resting an injured body part, the pain subsides a bit.
How did I find what helps my migraine?
I’ve had a lot of time to really analyze my own body and migraine’s effects on it. None of my attacks are exactly the same, but I find trends over time, such as what I wrote up above.
I’d love to see in the comments if you have experienced something like this. Have you noticed seemingly random or strange things that can make your symptoms better or worse? Let me know in the comments below!
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?