Migraine Warriors Invented Freezin’ For A Reason: It Numbs Our Pain Effectively You’ll Wanna Upgrade Your Icepack For Headache After Discovering These Winners
Hands down, the most common self-administered pain therapy among people with Migraine and headache: the trusty ice pack. A new, wearable generation of ice packs for headache and Migraine allows you to sleep, stand, and move hands-free.
One of these just might change your life. You can be freezin’ for a reason, and now with a style that allows you to get relief in public.
Prescription Painkillers For Frequent Tension Headaches
For those people who have frequent or recurring tension headaches, doctors sometimes recommend prescription-strength doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
Indocin , an NSAID that is available only by prescription, is “usually used for arthritis, but can also be very useful as a headache treatment,” Dr. Rozental says. “Indomethacin‘s downside is that it is among the drugs most likely to cause gastric irritation as a side effect,” including stomach ulcers and bleeding. It can also harm kidney function if taken at high doses or chronically.
Hike Up Your Hydration
There are plenty of reasons why folks are encouraged to get their fill of water. It can regulate your body temperature, keep joints lubricated, deliver nutrients to cells, and leave your skin looking radiant and youthful. It can also be a useful remedy in nixing migraines. A study in the European Journal Neurology shows that folks who sipped on an extra 1.5 liters of water per day experienced fewer hours of headaches as well as less intense ones in a two-week period when compared with those who were given placebo migraine medication. What’s more, drinking enough water can also relieve head pain in as little as 30 minutes.
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Studies On Cold Therapy And Migraine
There are few studies on cold therapy and migraine. One small study published in 2006 evaluated the use of a cold gel cap in 26 people with migraine. The gel cap was kept in the freezer and used for two migraine attacks by each participant. After using the cold gel cap for 25 minutes, severity of migraine was reduced in 50% of the patients in their first migraine attack and three patients had a complete response . In the second migraine attack, 57.6% of the patients had a reduction in the severity of their migraine with two patients having a complete response.2
Another study from 2013 evaluated the use of neck wraps in 55 patients with migraine. The participants were randomly assigned to use a cold neck wrap or a room-temperature neck wrap . Those who used the cold neck wrap had a significant decrease in the severity of their migraine attack at 30 minutes, compared to a significant increase in severity at 30 minutes for the control group. In addition, 77% of the patients who used the cold wrap said the cold wrap helped them, and the use of rescue medications was significantly lower in the cold wrap group.1
Cold Therapy Is A Common Measure
and an old one: Cold therapy as a migraine relief measure was first documented as early as 1849. 1
Today, even go-to sources for migraine advice such as the National Headache Foundation and the Mayo Clinic include cold compresses and ice packs among their recommendations to ease migraine symptoms.
In fact cold therapy has been cited as the most common self-administered pain-relief measure used by those suffering from migraine without aura and the second most common measure applied by those experiencing migraine with aura. 2
However, there are few clinical studies on the use of cold therapy in migraine, and exactly how cold works to ease a migraine remains poorly understood. Further, cold therapy may not be effective for all migraines or in all individuals. 3
One clinical study of 100 migraine sufferers showed that 75 percent found that cold therapy provided them with at least some relief, but of course more studies are needed.
Understanding some of the theories regarding how cold therapy may make migraine sufferers feel more comfortable can enable you to discuss this potential option with your doctor.
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Cold Therapy For Headaches And Migraines
Using ice to relieve headaches and migraines is a common home remedy, having been used for as long as 150 years.
Ice is often the go-to to treat pain and inflammation, so it makes logical sense for it to be applied when your head hurts, explains Dr. Tania Elliott, chief medical officer at EHE. But exactly what are the effects of ice on headaches or migraines?
According to Dr. Elliott, cold temperature causes blood vessels to constrict. The constriction of blood vessels helps reduce the neurotransmission of pain to the brain. Instead of registering pain, it only registers the cold feeling. In a way, cold temperature can act as a local anaesthetic that helps relieve the pain.
A 2013 study published in the Hawaii Journal of Medicine and Public Health found that applying a frozen neck wrap at the onset of a migraine significantly reduced pain in participants suffering from migraine headaches. The researchers believe that the cooling pack cools the blood flowing to the carotid artery in the neck. This helps to reduce the inflammation in the brain, which then helps reduce the pain felt from migraines.
Am I At Risk For Chronic Daily Headache
Anyone who has recurrent acute headaches and who uses short-acting medication or techniques to treat them is at risk of developing chronic daily headache, which is characterized by headache symptoms 15 or more days of the month over three months, notes an article published in February 2020 in Global Advances in Health and Medicine on Integrative EastWest Medicine Intervention for Chronic Daily Headache.
The two most common types of chronic daily headache are chronic migraine and chronic tension-type headache, although the two types often overlap. In other words, people diagnosed with chronic migraine often also have symptoms of chronic tension-type headache, and vice versa.
Individuals with chronic daily headache often also have a diagnosis of medication-overuse headache.
If your head pain or other symptoms cause you to frequently take short-acting medication, talk to your doctor about being referred to a headache specialist, who should be able to identify medical treatments as well as lifestyle or behavioral changes that can help to relieve your symptoms while also reducing your reliance on acute medications.
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Is Heat Or Cold Better For Migraines
Anyone who has ever had to endure a sore knee or a strained back has probably tried temperature therapy to ease the pain. Although this form of treatment is rudimentary at best, many people turn to their ice pack or hot water bottle in times of distress.
Of course, there is always the question of which works better hot or cold? A warm shower or a cool bath? Knowing which will give you the relief you need is essential, especially if you are suffering from a severe headache or migraine.
Some people prefer cold for pain relief others, warmth. The answer as you will find is far from immutable, but it should point you in the right direction and set your mind at ease. And, just for good measure, we have provided a handful of other tips and tricks to help you deal with your migraine.
Cold Therapy For Rheumatoid Arthritis
If your joints are inflamed, it makes sense that something cold could ease the inflammation and thus the pain. The main benefits of cold therapy are reducing inflammation, swelling, and soreness, as well as temporarily relieving joint pain caused by an arthritis flare.
Cold therapy is best during an acute flare, Maggiore says. Cold therapy is helpful as it can lower joint temperatures, reduce pain, and decrease inflammation, she says.
Like heat therapy, cold therapy comes in several forms.
One simple method of cooling the joints is a cool-water soak in a tub. Just don’t let the water get so cold that you become chilled.
Cold packs that you place directly on an aching joint include everything from common items bags of frozen peas or gel packs found at the drugstore to complete systems of coolers, cooling pads, and devices shaped to certain parts of the body, like the knees and back.
There also are widely available over-the-counter cold sprays and ointments, such as Biofreeze and CryoDerm, that relieve inflammation by numbing the nerves.
But if the cold doesnt feel good or you cant tolerate it, stop using it, Maggiore says.
Others who should avoid or limit cold therapy are people with Raynaud’s syndrome, a condition in which small blood vessels in the fingers or toes constrict when exposed to cold. If you have this syndrome, you probably should not use cold therapy on the affected parts of your body.
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How To Use An Ice Pack
Cold therapy can easily be done at home using household materials, though there are also many reusable cold packs available in stores. The three primary means of applying the cold to your head are:
- Ice towel: Soak a towel in cold water, then wring it out until it’s damp. Fold it and put it in a plastic bag, and then put it into your freezer for about 15 minutes. Make sure to take the towel out of the bag before using it.
- Icepacks: Fill a plastic bag with about a half pound of ice and add a little water before sealing. Wrap the pack in a wet towel before using.
- Cold packs:Along with the many available options in stores, you can use a bag of frozen peas or corn as a cold pack. You can also make a homemade cold pack by freezing 3 cups of water and 1 cup of rubbing alcohol. Use a resealable plastic bag, remove excess air, and let it freeze into slush. This type can be refrozen and reused once it melts.
Generally, the idea is to cool the forehead and temples or neck for sessions of 15 to 20 minutes at a time. This can be repeated multiple times a day and as needed if symptoms persist.
Myth : You Should Use Only Ice Or Only Heat On An Injury Not Both
Generally, the type of therapy used on an injury will depend on the injury itself. For acute injuries or single-traumatic-event injuries such as fractures, sprains, or dislocations, use ice to reduce pain and inflammation. Heat is most effective for muscle pain or stiffness to release tightness and relax muscles. Moreover, according to Harvard Health, injuries such as muscle strain can benefit from heat and ice in an alternating pattern to reduce swelling and then increase circulation.
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Popular Hot For Migraine Options To Consider
It is pretty common for people with migraine to experience neck pain with their attacks. I have tightness, pain and a spasming in my neck muscles. Heat feels amazing on these painful areas. If I get it early enough, it can really limit the pain I feel. A heating pad or microwaveable option are the first things I reach for.
I frequently like to have just heat all the way around my head. I have a heating pad that I like to say heats up to lava temperature. My favorite!! Its also long enough to wrap all the way around my head!! It produces moist heat which makes it feel wonderful as it cradles my head and presses heat into my cheeks, forehead and eyes. Because its weighted, it provides some wonderful pressure as well.
Many people talk about taking hot showers when they are having an attack as well. I like the idea of it and it feels great when I do it. But I have a ton of hair and the idea of trying to dry it when I have an attack is more than I can deal with.
I also have a Huggaroo neck wrap that is wonderful for when I am not lying in my bed. I have the unscented one, but there is also one that is lightly scented with lavender. The specific electric heating pad I have for my neck and shoulders is also helpful for when I am sitting up and working or watching a show on TV.
Neck And Shoulder Wrap
A heating pad for your neck and shoulders can relax you, relieve stress and alleviate headache pain. We recommend a microwavable heating pad – it’s cordless and you can enjoy it while working on your computer, cooking, walking the dog or driving. Simply heat in your microwave for two minutes, breathe in the natural herbs of lavender, lemongrass, chamomile and peppermint and let the soothing warmth sink into your neck and shoulders.
The next time you need relief from a tension headache, use heat. Try one or more of these six easy natural remedies: head wrap, hot shower, hand and foot soak, steam, hydration or a neck and shoulder wrap. Soothe your pain without medication and avoid any dangerous side effects.
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What Makes For The Most Effective Ice Pack For Headache
That depends on the situation and the user. In general, ice packs for headaches containing water are not flexible, which means they can’t wrap around your noggin. Many disposable chemical cold packs lose their heat quickly, although one of our finds claims it stays cool for eight hours.
Most gel-based ice packs, while easily conforming around the head and neck, don’t freeze and therefore warm up too quickly.
If you are experiencing frequent attacks, it’s time to invest in a more serious ice pack for headache and Migraine. Rotating ice packs simply isn’t practical at this point continuous relief is necessary.
With wearable ice packs, it’s also easy to get up and go to the bathroom or get a glass of water without removing it. Wearable hats and wraps keep ice in place while you sit, walk, carry something or try to sleep. . Many can be used on other parts of the body as well.
Common Causes Of Headaches
The best way to get rid of a headache quickly may depend on whats causing it and what type of headache it is. A primary headache is caused by overactivity or problems with the pain-sensitive structures in your head, according to the Mayo Clinic. Common types of primary headaches include migraine attacks and tension headaches.
A less common type of primary headache is a cluster headache, which comes on suddenly, almost always affects only one side of the head, and is accompanied by a runny nose and tearing eye on the same side of the head as the headache. The pain of a cluster headache is severe and lasts from 15 minutes to 3 hours, when untreated. For most people, cluster headaches occur in a series, or in clusters, lasting weeks or months, separated by remission periods of months or years.
A secondary headache is a symptom of a disease that can trigger pain-sensitive nerves in the head. There are many conditions that can cause a secondary headache, from a sinus infection to a brain aneurysm to hangovers to COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
While a hangover or a headache caused by a sinus infection or by COVID-19 may respond to the same pain-relieving treatments as a tension headache, a brain aneurysm, or other severe headaches associated with neurologic changes such as weakness or loss of consciousness, for example, are medical emergencies that you shouldnt attempt to treat on your own.
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Myth : Its Okay To Leave Cold Or Hot Therapy Products On Skin Longer Than 20 Minutes
When icing or heating an injury, its not a good idea to leave an ice or heat pack on the affected area for too long because you can cause further damage to the muscle tissue youre trying to repair. Icing an injury for more than 20 minutes can also cause frostbite on the skin or even nerve damage. To counteract the cold, our bodies open blood vessels, which can increase swellingthe very thing youre trying to reduce. Comparably, heat application is commonly used for more chronic injuries. Although heat therapy can help provide comfort to an injury, if it is chronic in nature, you should consult a doctor prior to use or treatment.
How To Treat A Migraine Using Everyday Things That Help
Besides the above acute treatment using ice and heat simultaneously, lets talk about how to treat a migraine and prevent further attacks by establishing some lifestyle changes:
1.Keep a migraine journal and not just a food list. When you get amigraine, write down what you can remember about the last three days. Whovisited, or who made you angry at work? Did anything bother you? Didanyone bother you? Did you miss a meal, or have a bad night’s sleep? By keeping track you might see a pattern emerge.
2.Keep regular eating and sleeping routines. Wake up and go tosleep at the same time every day, and yes even on weekends no sleeping in.
And eat regular and nutritional meals. Snack throughout the day between meals to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Neverskip meals. You might like to read my article on migraine headaches nutrition.
3.Practice relaxation techniques. Keep it simple. Exhale asmuch as you can and let the breath come back in and take a full, deepbreath. Hold it for 5 10 seconds, dont let stress happen, just letit be comfortable, and then slowly breathe out. If you can, repeat thisup to ten times and close your eyes.
I use relaxation CDs – for some of my favorite ones. I’ve done a whole bunch of meditations for you… here’s the link.
5.If you havent already stop smoking. Smoking is known to cause blood vessel constriction. Nasty mix for migraineurs.
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