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Does An Ice Pack Help A Migraine

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Using Ice For a Migraine Get Rid of a Migraine Without Medicine

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.

Our Free Guide Gives You 5 Tools For Every Day Migraine Prevention

Holly Hazen is the creator of Migraine Savvy. Her guidance is guaranteed to give you more confidence in your ability to prepare for that next attack and recover faster. Learning resilience and coping skills now will pay off forever!

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Do I Apply Ice Or Heat For The Relief Of My Headaches/migraines

When you are suffering from a headache or a migraine you will do just about anything to try to ease them. The most common thing that people will reach for after a pain killer will be an ice pack or a heat bag. So which is more effective to help relieve a headache/migraine?

Interestingly the answer is.neither.

The most common cause of headaches and migraines are dysfunctions in the upper 3 joints of the neck. Due to the chronic nature of these conditions, ice and/or heat will not help to alleviate these joints. However, one of the biggest things that is important during a headache/migraine attack is comfort! Therefore if you feel as though ice or heat is comforting or soothing, it certainly will not make the pain worse and by making yourself feel more at ease, this will in fact help your headache/migraine pass quicker.

The most important thing when applying an ice pack or heat bag is to never place them on the front of your neck. You have a lot of important structures in through the front of the neck that should not be affected by either ice or heat. Also, due to the top 3 joints because the cause of most headaches/migraines, if you place an ice pack or heat bag on the back of your neck, often it will cause your head to poke forwards, further encouraging these headache/migraine inducing dysfunctions. Therefore when applying ice/heat, applying it to the lower neck/shoulder area for maximum benefit and comfort.

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Migraine Be Koool Gel Sheets

Disposable adhesive patches with cooling compound built-in.

  • Fit: One size fits everyone. Can use one on the forehead and another on the neck if needed.
  • Function: Adhesive patches stay firmly in place. Disposable means they’re single-use, less environmentally friendly. Expect cooling, not coldness. The manufacturer says they stay cool up to eight hours.
  • Fashion: Very thin, easy to disguise under a hat or scarf if you need to wear it in public.
  • Storage: Fits in a backpack or purse to start relieving pain if you’re out in public or on an airplane when an attack strikes.
  • Price: $12.75 for a pack of 4 sheets
  • Our Rating: **

Compression cold wrap headband developed by an entrepreneur whose wife also lives with Migraine.

  • Fit: Soft fabric hugs the head with compression via Velcro closure. One size fits all.
  • Function: Has a vinyl side for intense cold and a felt side for moderate cold. Gel stays cold for up to an hour, with easy replacement ice packs.
  • Fashion: Looks more like a sports headband with a logo, which makes it a good pick for men. Could fit under a loose-knit beanie or scarf if you wanted to wear it in public.
  • Storage: No freezer packaging or carrying case.
  • Price: $29.95 + S& H

Whats The Best Way To Use An Ice Pack To Treat A Headache Or A Migraine

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Since ice packs are considered a home remedy, there are a variety of ways to use this treatment. As always, if you have questions or concerns about treating your headache at home, ask your doctor before trying any of these strategies.

Elliott says the best way to use cold therapy for a headache or a migraine is to apply the ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Where you apply the ice pack also makes a difference in how quickly you can experience relief. The 2013 study specifically recommends applying the ice in the form of a neck wrap, which can help reduce the pain and discomfort from headaches and migraines.

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How To Treat A Migraine Attack With Ice And Heat

I’ve tried so many different combinations I couldn’t begin to count them, and I can tell you with great relief that this really can stop a mild attack, if you act fast enough. And it certainly comforted me during the intense nasty attacks too.

Even though I need a triptan and ibuprofen in order to abort an attack, I still use this strategy.

1. Take action at the first sign of neurological disturbance which, for me, typically involves one or both eye’s. I feel pressure . You might also experience: blurry vision, zig zags in the air, and or lightning bolts in your peripheral vision.

Depending on what migraine type you are diagnosed with, this is the time to take your prescribed abortive medication or over the counter pain killer and go to bed in a very dark room. If you are light sensitive you might also benefit from using an eye pillow to cover your eyes for complete light blockout.

2.Put a hot water bottle on your stomach and rest your hands under it. It is essential that your hands are warmed.

3.Put an ice pack behind your neck. It is essential that your neck is iced.

4.Also keep your feet warm with a blanket.

Dr. Northrup says that cooling the blood traveling to the brain through your neck and warming your hands helps prevent the powerful vasoconstriction and rebound vasodilation that results in headache pain. Doing these things all at the same time has the potential to abort your attack.But you must act at the first sign your body gives you.

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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 a migraine, write down what you can remember about the last three days. Who visited, or who made you angry at work? Did anything bother you? Did anyone 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 to sleep 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. Never skip meals. You might like to read my article on migraine headaches nutrition.

3.Practice relaxation techniques. Keep it simple. Exhale as much as you can and let the breath come back in and take a full, deep breath. Hold it for 5 10 seconds, dont let stress happen, just let it be comfortable, and then slowly breathe out. If you can, repeat this up 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.

How To Treat A Migraine With Ice And Heat

Chiropractor Migraine Headache Relief Tip with Ice

Written and verified by Holly Hazen

At the same time! How to treat a migraine effectively is somewhat of a mystery even to doctors. Your doctor can prescribe a medication to reduce the pain phase, but there are no guarantees that medication will work with your unique body to stop the chain reactions that make up a migraine attack.

A change of diet and lifestyle promises a ‘cure’ or at least a good form of proactive prevention but what happens in reality?

What happens when the migraine is progressing and you need fast relief? This is a strategy you can read now and implement in a few minutes.

Every single person on the planet will experience a headache at some time in their lives.

I dont think anyone can escape a headache, or perhaps even a hangover at some point in their life.

But migraines are different, and chronic migraines are different again.

They are not just typical headaches, but they do fall under this medical classification which can cause confusion.

Migraine is a complex neurological condition that needs proper medical treatment. If you can get rid of your ‘migraine’ using an over the counter pain killer, then it is most likely not a migraine.The best natural treatment I have found on how to treat a migraine was from Dr. Christiane Northrup. She is/was a migraine sufferer herself, so she can advise patients the best way to treat a migraine and hopefully abort it before medications are needed.

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How Does Ice Work

First, we need to understand how each of these treatment modalities work. Lets begin with ice.

Ice has long been thought of as natures natural pain killer. It has powerful effects on the human body when applied to the skin, some of which we have only recently begun to understand.

Ice has been used for many years as a form of pain relief, and there are accounts of ice being used to treat injuries in the earliest days of mankind.

Ice works through a couple of mechanisms:

  • Ice, when applied to the skin, produces an effect called vasoconstriction in the blood vessels which basically means the small vessels narrow and shut down blood flow to that area. Thats one of the reasons ice is so useful for swelling, such as after an ankle sprain.
  • Ice also has an effect on the nerves around the area, dampening their signals which means we feel naturally less pain with an injury.
  • Ice also encourages a flushing out of the potentially harmful chemicals around an injury site and reduces inflammation.

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Myth : Its Okay To Apply Ice To Your Bare Skin

Regardless of how little time you leave ice on the skin, its not a good idea to place it directly on there in the first place. Using ice or an ice pack directly on the skin can cause severe frostbite in minutes with long-lasting effects. When ice comes in contact with skin, it forms ice crystals on skin cells and decreases blood flow, depriving the tissues of oxygen that produces underlying and permanent damage. Instead, use a protective layer such as a cloth or a sleeve into which you can insert your hot or cold pack. Alternatively, you could use direct to skin products such as clay wraps or oat bags that are made with a soft fabric.

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Who Should Avoid Heat Therapy

While it seems like there should be almost no risk to using hot or cold for migraine. People with some conditions could experience adverse effects. Some conditions that you should consult your doctor about before starting heat therapy include:

  • Heart disease
  • If severe numbness occurs, call your doctor

When Should You Ice Your Face

Ice Beanie Natural Migraine and Headache Relief Hat

Usually, your skin becomes oily in the morning, which can create pimple, blackheads, aging, etc. Using ice in the morning can be useful to reduce the oil. You can use it for treating acne and spot. Using ice packs in the face at night also helps to rejuvenate your skin. You can use ice packs for the face while you are resting, any time of the day.

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Does Cold Compress Help Migraine

Elliott says the cold can constrict blood vessels and help reduce the neurotransmission of pain to the brain. Instead of registering pain, it registers oh, thats cold. A 2013 study found that applying a frozen neck wrap at the onset of a migraine significantly reduced pain in participants with migraine headaches.

How Might Cold Therapy Work On Migraines

Dr. Keri Peterson, an internist in New York City, says: Ice helps for multiple reasons it could be either a vascular contribution, a neurologic contribution, or endocrine.

On the vascular system : It is thought that cold constricts the blood vessels , possibly creating decreased downstream blood flow and lessening the pain you may feed. A cold pack may also reduce edema .

The potential neurologic effects of cold therapy on migraine may be rooted in the fact that the cold inhibits your ability to feel the pain, a process called analgesia. Dr. Peterson elaborates: In regards to the neurologic system, ice may slow nerve conduction, so you sense pain less readily, because the nerves are more sluggish.

As for the endocrine system, it is thought that cold may decrease metabolic and enzymatic activity, which reduces local tissue demand for oxygen.

Lastly, its important to note that cold therapy could also have a placebo effect on a patients ability to subjectively describe their pain.

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How Do I Know If I Have Migraines With Aura

Migraine aura symptoms include temporary visual or other disturbances that usually strike before other migraine symptoms such as intense head pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine aura usually occurs within an hour before head pain begins and generally lasts less than 60 minutes.

Does Drinking Cold Water Help Headaches

how to get rid of migraine headaches | Ice Pack & Warm Water Home Remedy

Drink water Most dehydration headaches resolve within three hours of drinking. You dont need to overhydrate: A simple glass or two of water should help in most cases. Drinking too quickly sometimes makes dehydrated people vomit, so its best to take slow, steady sips. You could even suck on a few ice cubes.

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Myth : Hot And Cold Therapy Is Only Useful For Injuries

A common misconception about hot and cold therapeutic treatments is that theyre only applicable for injuries or sustained pain and swelling due to an injury. Thermotherapy and cryotherapy have an assortment of uses outside of injury treatment, including:

  • Maternity pain relief: During pregnancy, aches and pains are common due to the growing baby and your changing body. Heat and cold therapy can help many women mitigate swelling of limbs and headaches due to hormone changes. During labor and after birth, hot and cold therapy can relax muscles and act as a nerve distractor to reduce pain perception.
  • Skin and dermatological conditions: Because cold can constrict blood vessels and tighten pores, many individuals use it to reduce under-eye puffiness, minimize skin redness, and prevent oil and dirt from clogging pores.
  • Wellness and comfort: Wellness and comfort are essential to completing our everyday tasks and living our lives to the fullest. Heat therapy can ease discomfort for individuals experiencing menstrual cramps, stomach aches, growing pains, or simply help with relaxation at the end of a long day. Cold therapy is ideal for cooling down the body on hot days or during a fever and reducing sweating after playing sports or for individuals who experience hot flashes.

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Background Information

Migraine headaches can be absolutely debilitating and incapacitating. Only someone who has had a migraine can truly understand how painful it is. Migraines are intense headaches that can last up to 2 or 3 days. In addition to the throbbing pain, migraine headaches often come with extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Other symptoms include pain on one side of the head, nausea, and vomiting. In some cases, there are precursors that let the individual know that a migraine headache is about to happen. This is called an aura. Auras can range from things such as having a tingling feeling in your arm or leg, numbness, or blind spots in your eye.


In this case, the null hypothesis would be that submerging your hands and feet into ice water would do nothing. Meaning that ice water does not help combat the symptoms of migraine headaches. The alternative hypothesis is that the ice water treatment does help alleviate the symptoms of migraines. Scientists can choose to either accept or reject the null hypothesis.




Works Cited

Headaches and Migraines Center: Treatments, Causes, Types .WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.

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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.


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