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From frozen peas to a quick nap – tips to manage your next migraine

woman holding her head in her hands

With our fast-paced, demanding and (often) hectic lives, there’s no surprise that more and more people are suffering with headaches in this digital age.

Migraines affect up to 20% of women and 6% of men – with sufferers of the common condition typically experiencing severe headaches, alongside a throbbing pain felt at the front or side of the head.

Stress migraines can come on at any time, and vary in strength from moderate to being completely debilitating.

However, hot weather can trigger migraines, too.

The good news is that there are ways to lessen the effects of a migraine – or even to completely relieve it.

Experts recommend trying these tricks.

Rest in a dark room

If you’re suffering from a migraine, you may also ‘feel extra sensitive to light and sound’ says Parvinder Sagoo, a lead pharmacist and health advisor for SimplyMedsOnline.

‘Try to lie down (or sit) in a dimly lit or a pitch black room, close your eyes and try to relax your back, neck, and shoulders,’ he explains.

Parvinder advises ‘minimal movement’ – so the migraine isn’t put under any more stress.

Try to stay there for a few hours, or at least until the migraine has let up a little. If you fall asleep, that may also help with relieving your pain.

Try a massage

‘Have someone else gently massage your head, neck, and shoulder muscles, or do it yourself with a targeted massage,’ Parvinder Sagoo advises.

‘Gently rub the painful spot on your head with your fingertips for several seconds working in circular motions.’

A good massage can undo clenched muscles and help you relax, so it can be especially good for stress or tension migraines.

Hack your caffeine

Parvinder calls this a ‘Catch-22’ situation, as caffeine can both help ease stress migraines, but could trigger them too.

‘Caffeine has been known to help ease tension headache symptoms by helping pain relief drugs work better and faster,’ he says.

‘That’s why caffeine is often an ingredient in pain medications.’

See how you respond and, if you feel it’s worsening the migraine, stay well clear of the stimulant.

Grab a hot or cold compress

Cold and heat sometimes relieves the pain and muscle tension that can come with migraines.

‘You can ease symptoms of migraines with heat by taking a hot shower and massage the shower head close to the affected areas of your head and neck,’ says Parvinder.

‘You can also try a hot water bottle, a warm towel, or a warm compress.’

If you prefer the cold, wrap an ice pack (or frozen peas) in a towel, then place it on the affected area.

Try the acupressure technique

Acupressure techniques are a type of targeted massage known to quickly ease migraine pain.

‘Place your thumbs near the base of your skull, find the depressions on both sides of where your head meets your neck, then press in and slightly upward with your thumbs until you feel slight pressure,’ says Parvinder.

‘While pressing, move your thumbs in small circles for roughly 2-3 minutes.’

Neck exercises

This could help migraine pain that’s caused by holding your head in one position for too long – by being on the computer for too long, for example.

‘Place your palm on your forehead, and using your neck muscles, press your forehead lightly against your palm,’ Parvinder says.

‘Keep your head upright, and your hand and arm still for resistance – this should ease some of the tension building around your temples and the front of your head.’

Try over the counter medicine

If your migraines are affecting daily life and aren’t improving, it might be best to try over-the-counter medicine to fix the problem.

These medications are safe and effective and can help treat the causes, as well as the symptoms of migraines.

If in doubt, make sure you get in touch with a healthcare professional who is best placed to give you the right advice.

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