As a FMS warrior, I face down a ton of migraines. Like a ton. I have headaches running on a daily schedule, but at least once a week they hit an intolerable point.
There are multiple headache levels for me:
Class one: a mere headache, more a nuisance than a problem, generally they tell me what I need and are simple to fix or can just be ignored (more on that in a minute)
Class two: a headache of constant distraction and is bad enough to make me unable to focus for more than a minute or two
Class three: an easy migraine that includes intense pain in my head and neck, nausea and brain fog
Class four: a migraine that includes widespread pain throughout my entire body, a constant ricochet between hot flashes and feeling like I’m freezing, intense nausea and brain fog
Class five: a migraine that includes excruciating widespread pain (allodynia), the ricochet effect, brain fog, blindness, partial deafness, and nausea intense enough to induce vomiting or diarrhea (sorry if that’s TMI)
Because I’ve gotten used to these, I’ll still continue with my busy lifestyle through class four.. but when that class five hits (usually once every other month or so), I’m done for. It’s off to bed and there’s no way I’m doing anything aside from sleeping and running to the restroom every little bit.
I hate to take pain medication and will usually refuse to do so (I can be pretty stubborn) so overtime, I’ve learned how to treat most of my headaches without meds. For average headaches, it’s about location:
If the pain is on top of my head, I need to eat something and drink some water.
If it’s where my skull meets my spine, it’s stress induced and I need to relax (or it’s because my neck is out of place, which happens frequently thanks to two rebellious cervical vertebra).
If it’s at my temples, it’s because I didn’t get enough sleep and/or my eyes are strained so I need to take a nap.
But this location-method is only useful so far. Once the classes four and five start coming, it takes more and I will eventually give in to medicating.
Still, even that isn’t enough for a class five. That’s where the five strange ways to fight off migraines come in.
Before I dive in, I’ll just disclaimer that I’m not a doctor and these methods have been developed over trial and error. They work for me and I think they will work for you. But that’s not a guarantee, so don’t hate me if they don’t. 😉
ONE: a cold washcloth on the face and a heating pad on the neck or lower back
While you can usually do one or the other to fight off a headache, you’ll need both to relieve the intense pain that is migraine. Run a wash cloth under the coldest tap water you can stand, then drape it across your face while simultaneously resting your neck on a heat pad or a hot rice sock (take a long sock, fill it with not-instant rice, tie off the open end and heat). The confusing effect it has will calm down your raging pain receptors.
TWO: fresh air and sun
I know it can be next to impossible to tolerate the bright sun, noisy neighbor’s kids and random jerk who revs his engine before squealing his tires at take off. But if you can do it, make it outside and spend just twenty minutes in the sun and natural air. The extra vitamin D will give your body’s fight-back and extra boost. If you absolutely can’t do that, take a vitamin D supplement and open your window for a bit.
THREE: suck on a mint or chew some mint gum
I generally prefer to suck on a mint because chewing is excruciating when I have a migraine. But anyways, mint is a well-known natural healer so take it in high volumes. A lot of people prefer to use an aroma diffuser with mint essential oils, but I can’t tolerate the smell. It’s too strong for my migraine-sensitive nose.
FOUR: apple juice
I’ve been told this one is all in my head, that there is zero nutrition in it and at best all it does is hydrate me. But I always feel better when I drink apple juice, be it pain from a flare-up or a migraine, the torture eases. It also calms the nausea for me.
FIVE: have someone brush your hair
I realize this sounds strange, but you’ll be amazed at how quickly it works. The gentle tug of a brush on your hair will relieve a lot of the tension trapped in your skull and neck. And you’ll also go those delightful scalp tingles. Note: it has to be someone else brushing your hair for it to work. I’m not a scientist, but I’d say it’s because of some subconscious understanding that if you’re the one brushing your hair, it’s just a chore and not a treat… heh
What are some tips and tricks you use to get rid of migraines?