About 12% of all Americans deal with migraine pain, including 18% of women, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. So, if you’re one of them, you’re one of them you’re far from alone.
But this doesn’t help much when you’re suffering a debilitating attack with throbbing pain, visual disturbances, dizziness and other maddening symptoms — you just want it to be over. Now.
Unfortunately a cure for migraines has eluded us, but many pain remedies can help sufferers through the worst of the misery. These measures should be taken at the first hint of an impending migraine to stem the course of the attack.
Cold ice packs
This is one of the oldest remedies for this affliction, and it’s still in use because it works by constricting blood vessels to reduce inflammation and pain signals in the affected area. Applying a cold gel pack, ice cubes wrapped in a towel, or even a bag of frozen vegetables to your forehead for 15 to 20 minutes at a time can be helpful.
Turning out the lights
Step away from as many screens as you’re able to and turn off the lights, as bright illumination is known to be a trigger and aggravating factor for migraines and the visual symptoms that often come with them.
Drink a small amount of caffeine
Drinking tea or another low-caffeine beverage can be enough to relieve pain in the early stages of an attack, and it can also enhance the effects of medications like aspirin or acetaminophen. Use caution with consuming higher levels of caffeine, especially late in the day.
Many over-the-counter drugs are part of the first line of defense against migraine pain, including ibuprofen (Aleve, Motrin, etc.) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, Panadol). Up to 1,000 mg of aspirin can be used for acute migraines, and some research has suggested lower amounts could have a preventive effect.
Overuse of these can lead to negative side effects including “rebound” headaches and digestive issues including ulcers, so ask your physician about prescription drugs if you’re experiencing migraines more than once or twice a week.