Quick and Easy Tips for Getting Rid of a Migraine

The searing and intense pain of a migraine can be completely debilitating — and if you experience these severe headaches, you’re not alone. The Migraine Research Foundation notes the illness is the sixth most disabling in the world, and over 4 million people worldwide suffer from chronic daily migraines. Not only that, but 90% of those who get them are unable to function normally when one strikes.

Many people who experience migraines don’t just get a severe headache, either. While throbbing head pain is part of it, others will experience nausea, visual disturbances, sensitivity to sound and light, and numbness in the face or extremities. Certain medications can help, but when you’re in a pinch, there are other non-medicinal tricks you can try to lessen the severity. Here are some quick and easy tips that can help.

Place a cold pack on your forehead

Portrait of a woman with a headache on an airplane

Woman with a migraine | kosmos111/iStock/Getty Images

When you’re in pain, should you use a hot pack or a cold pack for relief? The answer is that it all depends on what kind of headache you’re experiencing. When you have a tension headache, warmth is best. But WebMD says for migraines, try placing a cold pack (or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel) on your forehead for 15 minutes at a time.

Unclench your jaw (and get a mouthguard)

Whether you realize it or not, you may be holding a lot of tension and tightness in your mouth, which can lead to migraines later, WebMD notes. Take a minute to relax and massage your jaw with both hands. This likely won’t get rid of all of your pain, but it’s a good place to start (and it will help prevent them in the future). Also, consider the foods you’re eating when you feel a migraine coming on. If you’re chewing gum or hard, sticky foods that create tension in the jaw, choose softer meals.

Getting your migraines early in the morning? If you know you grind your teeth at night, ask your dentist about getting fitted for a mouthguard. This can make a world of difference.

Relax in a quiet and dark room

You’re probably feeling sensitive to light and sound when you have a migraine. One of the fastest and easiest ways to feel relief is to get away from these stressors, Healthline notes. Not only will lying in a dark and quiet room help your head pain, but it will also reduce your stress level, which may be making your migraine way worse without you realizing it.

While you’re lying down, also consider your breathing. Slow, deep breaths and other relaxation techniques can significantly improve migraine pain in a short time.

Drink a cup of coffee

A person pours some coffee.

A person pours some coffee. | Sasha_Suzi/iStock/Getty Images

There’s a reason many over-the-counter migraine remedies have caffeine, and that’s because it can provide real relief. If you don’t have Excedrin on hand, try relaxing with a small cup of coffee instead, Healthline suggests. Make sure you don’t overdo it, though. Relying too heavily on caffeine for relief may lead to caffeine-related withdrawals later on, which can only exasperate the problem.

Lie down with your head on a book or another hard surface

There’s a chance your migraine but actually be a severe tension headache. In this case, you may find it helpful to lie on your back with your head on a hard, elevated surface, like a book or a phone directory, osteopath Christian Bates tells Mirror.co.uk. You should adjust the book so that the knob-like area on the back of your head is resting against it. Tuck your chin toward your chest to lengthen the tight muscles in the neck and back of the head that may be causing your pain.

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