I've been getting hormonal-based migraines since high school. They're *terrible*. They come (like clockwork) right before I get my period—along with cramps and exhaustion and breakouts. I hate them. I've tried prescription medicine, different birth control pills, eliminating gluten, homeopathic suggestions from friends—and yet, I still get them.
I don't have a current prescription, birth control pills have never seemed to mesh well with my body and I am able to go on gluten-free stretches but I always seem to fall off the bandwagon. So, while I do know some strategies I can use to prevent them, nothing has stuck with me 100%—I still get migraines.
Erin Holt, Functional Nutritionist helping women "end the war on their bodies," recently released an episode chock-full of information on migraines via her podcast, The Funk'tional Nutrition Podcast. (Erin is truly a wealth of knowledge!) The episode covers everything from the difference between headaches and migraines to triggers and natural relief options.
I asked Erin specifically about triggers and she said, "Migraines can be difficult to treat once they set in, due to the extraordinary amount of neurochemical activity taking place in the brain. This is why it's SO important to understand your personal migraine trigger(s), so you can take proactive measures to avoid them.
The most common triggers I see clinically are nutrient deficiencies, food intolerances, hormonal issues and blood sugar dysregulation. Certain supplements can be helpful in reducing migraines—magnesium glycinate, B vitamins and melatonin—but what will work for you really depends upon your unique triggers and biochemical makeup."
She encourages us to nail down our specific triggers—for me, it's my period/hormones and stress—but until then, my friend, we have a list of products for you that'll help relieve your pain. Because getting yourself into a dark, cave-like room to go to sleep with as many ice packs as humanly possible on your head is not always possible. Mommin' with a migraine is no joke.
Here are the 11 best products for migraine relief:
Melt away tension with this little wildflower beauty. Not only can this comforting eye mask be heated up or cooled down depending on your preference, but it also comes in nine different adorable patterns.
Sometimes you don't want cold cotton on your eyes, you want the feeling of cold squishy gel—it totally depends on what you need at the moment. If you're into the squishy feel, this might be your new best friend.
Another tool to add to your migraine toolkit, this weighted hot/cold pack is perfect for cooling relief on your neck and shoulders. (But also microwaveable for heating purposes, too.)
Also known as an all-around ice pack for your head that actually stays put without having to use an ace bandage for help (as I have done). This product looks like a must-buy.
A popular comfort measure people take is pairing heat at the base of your body at the same time you cool down the upper part of your body. So, try soaking your feet in a hot tub, or in this case, with a heating pad for your feet—paired with an ice pack on your neck—to see if that helps ease your migraine pain.
Peppermint essential oil, diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, can be applied directly to your temples for migraine relief. And the scent of lavender oil is said to calm migraines, so you can diffuse it, add the diluted oil to a bath or apply the diluted oil to your skin. (Find the Young Living lavender essential oil here.)
Our editors tried various forms of Green Roads CBD products and loved them. CBD is unfortunately not approved by the FDA (yet!), so manufacturers of CBD products are unable to make claims in reference to their products treating any specific medical conditions. However, many people say that using CBD helps to reduce the pain associated with migraines or headaches and could even prevent nausea or vomiting. (It is always best to discuss with your medical provider if you have any concerns, and to check in before using if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.)
Gua sha is an ancient Chinese practice of scraping and massaging your skin with a therapeutic tool in order to improve circulation and relieve tension, which (here's hoping!) will help ease your migraine tension while also tending to your skin.
Screentime typically doesn't help headaches or migraines, so if you look at a screen a lot during the day (or night), these could help on a regular basis for keeping your migraines at bay. (And they're really cute!)
Oftentimes, the best answer for a migraine you can't prevent is not only ice on your head and possibly heat on your feet (and all our other suggestions!), but a quiet, dark room and space to lie down. Blackout shades will likely improve your nightly sleep overall, anyway.
Sometimes the only thing that can relieve some of the pain is to press really hard on pressure points at the nape of my neck. This does the work for you, helping to relax those oh-so-tight muscles and provide some relief.
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