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First things first, migraines are 100% different than your average headache. Unfortunately, both headaches and migraines are the 'norm' for me. Honestly, I wouldn't wish migraines on my worst enemy. To everyone who can relate to the awful pain of migraines, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I totally get it and it's awful.
After going to the hospital several times for outrageous migraines, I have started a list of things that help me prevent and rid migraines once I get them. If they get extremely bad, I usually end up throwing up from the pain. *DISCLOSURE* I also see a neurologist and am on migraine prevention medication, which has been a life saver. However, I do still get headaches and migraines from time to time.
Below find some of the things that help me get rid of my migraines:
This one is tricky, as caffeine helps some and hurts others. For me, drinking a coffee or having a bottle of soda if I have a migraine or feel one coming on is super helpful. One of my friends drinks a bunch of Pepsi when she has a migraine and it always works for her! I know a lot of people also take Excedrin Migraine which has caffeine in it. I'm also secretly addicted to caffeine, I'm pretty sure. So, if I don't have my cup of coffee in the morning, I do tend to get a headache.
Within the last few years, I've discovered essential oils. One that has really helped me with my migraines is peppermint oil. I usually dab some on my pillow if I'm lying down, a bit on my wrists, and a little on my temples (forehead). I keep one bottle in my work bag and one at home on my nightstand. This way, if I'm at work and am starting to feel a headache or migraine brewing, I'm able to dab some on my wrists. I also have a diffuser which I can put drops of peppermint oil in. I want to look into peppermint oil that you can add to food or tea. I'm also hoping to continue exploring different essential oils, as there are so many for different purposes. Do you use any?
You probably hear this all of the time, but hydrating when you have a migraine or feel one coming on is EXTREMELY important! Honestly, it's important all of the time. I really struggle with this one, I'm so bad at staying hydrated. I don't exactly love the taste of water (YES IT HAS A TASTE), but do enjoy flavored or carbonated water, juice and Powerade. This is especially important in the summertime when your body is so dehydrated as it is. I'm going to work on increasing my water intake and may try infusing my water with fruit so it has a bit of a fruity/sweet flavor!
For me, getting massages is 100% worth the expensive cost in migraine prevention. Unfortunately, my migraines are result of an accident I was in. Due to this, my muscles are constantly tense and sore. Massage helps release this tension and I find when I get regular massages, I have less frequent headaches and migraines. If I'm unable to get in to see my massage therapist, I have my boyfriend massage my shoulders, neck and temples. (Shout out to my boyfriend, you have saved me so many times!).
These two are a must for me when I have migraines. I try to make my room as dark as possible (light KILLS when you have a migraine) and put an ice pack over my temples/eyes. I have a few reusable ice packs in my freezer that come in really handy. Make sure you have a thin towel to wrap the ice pack in, don't put it directly on your skin! I also recommend making sure there is no distracting noise, which can make your head hurt even more. A lot of times I'm in too much pain to fall asleep, but when I have the ice pack on and close my eyes, I am able to relax some. HIGHLY recommend!
I have only tried this a few times, to be honest, but have found it quite helpful. In previous blog posts and on my YouTube channel, I have mentioned guided meditation and the Stop, Breathe & Think app. If I'm unable to fall asleep with my icepack on my head, I try to do these. They help me not focus on how terrible the pain is, and I can usually fall asleep or 'step away' from the pain for a bit. Have you had experience with guided meditation and pain? Do you find this works for you?
Some people think I'm crazy for this one, but I swear it makes a difference. I use muscle rub on my shoulders, neck, and especially my temples when I have a migraine. This relaxes my tense muscles and I find it so helpful. I use a special muscle relaxer cream that I purchased from my Chiropractor, but there are generic brands in the drug store or WalMart like Icy Hot. Totally worth a shot!
A few other things I have tried include taking a cold shower in the dark, putting my feet and wrists in water with an ice pack on my neck (Pinterest...), using Johnson & Johnson mint scented baby wash in the bath tub, peppermint candles, eating bananas, eating almonds, and a bunch of other weird experiments.
To my fellow migraine sufferers, I'm so sorry you have to deal with these. Like I said, I wouldn't wish them on anyone. It's hard to find people to relate to, when most haven't ever had a migraine. They're literally debilitating.
Do you get migraines? What helps you rid them? Comment below!