During Acute Migraine Attack:
During an acute attack, I am in immediate relief mode. In addition to abortive medicines prescribed by my neurologist, my go-to is heat on my back and neck, to relax the clenching that ensues. My migraine often starts in the neck, then up through the jaw – so if I can loosen those muscles ASAP I have some chance of preventing a more severe version of migraine.
I also use ice if I am feeling pain, either directly on the pain point, or on my full face. This helps dull the pain, and also, quite frankly, distracts me.
In addition, research has found that cooling our vagus nerve (which runs from the brain to our abdomen via connections in our face and neck) helps to stimulate a parasympathetic response – which is our relaxation response. This is in direct opposition to the fight or flight sympathetic response that is usually stimulated at the onset of discomfort.
A more relaxed self can help desensitize a brain in pain.
Another tried and true hack for me is immediately placing a small drop of peppermint oil on my wrists, and then sometimes on my temples (making sure it’s not too close to my eyes). I’ll then pull my wrists toward my nose and inhale and exhale slowly.
I also get extremely nauseous during acute attacks, so I make sure to stock my fridge with my favorite ginger ale, and I sip on that as needed. I like this kind, because it isn’t full of high fructose corn syrup, and other additives!
Overall Migraine Wellness:
While stress doesn’t cause migraine, research indicates that stress is one of the more infamous triggers of a migraine. A trigger is a factor or an event that can contribute to the onset of a migraine. These vary from person to person, and it’s often a combination of multiple triggers that sets off a migraine attack.
What’s interesting and relevant is that the chronic everyday life stressors, like work and relationships, are the cause of most headaches – as opposed to big episodic stressful experiences or events. This means that even when I am not acutely experiencing migraine, keeping stress levels at bay is one way to help stave off migraine. Other factors, like barometric pressure, and hormonal imbalances are out of my control. I can do my best, however, to keep up the stress-relief.
While I’m not an MD, I have included the Magnesium and Riboflavin supplements that have been recommended to me by physicians and fellow migraine sur-thrivers.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before trying any supplement, clear it with your migraine specialist first.
For me personally, before bed, I like to drink Vata tea.
Whenever I have the opportunity, I soak in a bath of Epsom salts so that at baseline my muscles are less tight and clenched.
I also make sure use a sleep-mask to ensure proper sleep hygiene. Getting enough sleep is a huge component to my overall migraine self-care.
What migraine hacks have you found that work for you?
I’d love to hear from you, let’s heal together! Email me at DrJen@BrainCurves.com or add your comment below.
Read more in the BrainCurves Migraine Surthrivers Guide