TOOLS

A few important notes:

  • These are tools that others with migraine have suggested.
  • The efficacy and effectiveness may vary greatly.
  • Look for the free options as there are many cheap, free or DIY (do-it-yourself) options to try.
  • Where products are available on Amazon, only products with 4 stars or higher have been listed.
  • Products with a small amount of reviews or unverified reviews have not been shown.
  • These tools should not replace your medication without your physician’s advice and any treatment changes you make you occur under the supervision of your physician.
FOR ACUTE MIGRAINE ATTACKS
Ice

Use a free ice pack you have at home. Numb the pain and take the edge off an attack.
An icy drink. Some people have reported that this helps provide relief.
Headache Hat – designed by an individual with migraine, a cotton, spandex micro fleece that covers the head.
Migraine Cooling Strips which don’t require refrigeration.
Migraine Cooling Headache Pads. Lightly scented.

Sleep

Sleep when possible, can provide significant and even full relief from an attack.
Deliberate yawning.
Eye mask – to shut out the light.
Dark, quiet room – minimises additional pain from light and sound during an attack. Also helps with sleep.
Compression Eye Mask & Pillow It’s freezable, it can soothe tired, puffy eyes. Provides cooling relief and blocks out light.

See sleep section below for more.

Bath/shower

Bath option 1) During and/or after an attack. Blend your own oils and a relax in a bath helps to try relax during the pain. Crucial to prevent the tension experienced in the head, neck and shoulders.
Bath option 2) If possible, hop in a hot bath in which you dissolve 2 cups Epson salt and 1 cup baking soda. Place ice on neck, lay back and rest for exactly 10 mins. The heat pulls the blood downward and the ice keeps it out of your head again, while the magnesium and soda balance out your ions. That may help to abort or to drop the pain level down to manageable.
Bath option 3) Soak feet in hot water – may help take the edge off during an attack.

Caution: Drowning is an unfortunate possibility for those with Hemiplegic migraine if an attack occurs in a bath tub. This is not appropriate for those with Hemiplegic migraines.

Essential oils

Common oils mentioned by migraineurs are:

Which may be mixed in blends and rubbed onto pressure points or tender areas like the back of the neck, temples and forehead during an attack. Sometimes even the feet.

Caffeine
A double edged sword. Can be used for good or evil (i.e. can help or hinder). Often not recommended by physicians if you have chronic migraines but in acute attacks it can be used to enhance the effectiveness of some medications by up to 30-40%. It can also increase your risk of rebound headache or medication overuse headache. Proceed with caution and doctor supervision.
Ginger

Eating ginger sweets and candies can provide relief from the nausea associated with a migraine attack.
Clinical studies reported in Dr Michael Greger’s talk also show how the right dose of ginger can abort a migraine.

Trigger/ Pressure points

Massage the webbing between the thumb and first finger with the other thumb and first finger for one minute using medium pressure. Then consider doing the other hand. This is one type of pain point massage. It may help decrease pain.
Applying pressure to a throbbing temple, reduces the blood flow and relieves pain whilst pressure is maintained.

FOR MIGRAINE PREVENTION:
STRESS
Relaxation practices

Deep breathing
Meditation
Progressive Relaxation
Time spent in a calming place away from triggers
Time spent in nature, outdoors
Yoga
Acupunture
Aromatherapy
Hot bath/shower

Other activities

Drinking tea
Playing with your pet – pets make the best nurses.
Practice gratitude – remember the good days and what you achieved. Even if it is just getting up washed dressed and sitting outside for some sunshine.
Keep a regular routine.
Binaural music – music that produces a meditative state. Earphones required.
Journal – write, start a gratitude journal (see above), make lists, breathe.
Essential oils that calm and relax
Have a girly chat either out for a walk or on Facebook or if you’re a guy, spend some quality man time together at a game or fishing etc. The important thing is to get ‘outside your illness’.
Laugh more
Have a hobby
Exercise regularly
Be good to yourself and carry on

MUSCLE TIGHTNESS/ STIFFNESS
Heat

Heat cream
Tiger balm
Wheatpack
Flaxseed heatpack
Hot water bottle

Massage

Free option: put two tennis balls in a sock and tie the sock. Then use the tennis balls to target your problem area.
Spikey Massage Ball – 3 inch, diameter
Theracane – cane shaped massager for easing aches and pains
Electric Massager
Shiatsu neck/shoulder massager
Trigger point therapy – focusing on key trigger points in the back of the head, neck and shoulders.
Foam roller

Stretch

Isometric neck exercises for headache and neck pain
Shoulder and neck stretches
Physcial therapy exercises
Occipivot – used to help manage poor spinal alignments, poor posture, headache and neck pain.

Other

Travel pillow to support the neck.
Vertical mouse to relieve pressure on shoulder and neck for those who spend long periods of time at the desk.
Acupressure Massage Mat which helps with tight muscles and stress relief. Apparently it’s like an at-home acupuncturist.

SLEEP
Tools

Sleep Mask
Nature sounds – Ocean waves, nature, rain for deep sleep and relaxation.
Music – reiki healing music, gentle bells etc.
Black out blinds/ curtains.
CPAP machine – to treat sleep apnea. Personal sleep study recommended. Studies have shown migraineurs who suffer sleep apnea can significantly reduce their migraine frequency by treating their sleep apnea.

Pillows

Duck Down Pillow – remouldable to suit your position without the stems characteristic of feather pillows.
Memory Foam Pillow
Cold eye mask – an eye mask kept in the fridge or freezer.

VISION
Tools

Axon Optics lenses
Theraspecs lenses
Irlen syndrome
Flux app – makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day
Deluminate – invert the luminance of a website to make it easier on the eyes.
UVEX glasses – cheap and designed for electrical workers… but a cheap way test if colored lenses could help.
Adjust the brightness of screens – TV, smartphone, computer, iPad etc.

VISION
Tools

Axon Optics lenses
Theraspecs lenses
Irlen syndrome
Flux app – makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day
Deluminate – invert the luminance of a website to make it easier on the eyes.
UVEX glasses – cheap and designed for electrical workers… but a cheap way test if colored lenses could help.
Adjust the brightness of screens – TV, smartphone, computer, iPad etc.

ODOR
JAW
Tools

Oclusal splint (from Dentist)
Mouthguard (sporting store – is a cheaper, non-ideal solution to grinding)

APPS
Tools

MigraineBuddy – migraine diary
Curelator – migraine diary, 3 maps and protectors.
MigrainePal -migraine diary and private support forum
iHeadache – migraine diary
Headspace – a gym membership for the mind
MeLady – menstrual cycle tracker

BOOKS
Tools

7 Steps To A Pain Free Life: How To Rapidly Relieve Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain – Robin Mckenzie
Heal Your Headache – David Buchholz
Living Well With Migraine Disease and Headaches: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You… That You Need To Know – Teri Robert
Migraine: (Contemporary Neurology Series) Dr David Dodick & Dr Stephen Silberstein
The Migraine Miracle: A Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free, Ancestral Diet to Reduce Inflammation and Relieve Your Headaches for Good – Josh Turknett
The Keeler Migraine Method A Groundbreaking, Individualized Treatment Program Dr Robert Cowan
The Migraine Brain  Dr Caroline Bernstein and Elaine McArdle
Trigger Point Therapy for Headaches and Migraines: Your Self -Treatment Workbook for Pain Relief – Clair Davies NCTMB
You Can Heal Your Life – Louise Hay

OTHER CATEGORIES
Miscellaneous Tools

TENS Units (eg. Cefaly, Vagus Nerve Stimulator)
Daith Piercing
Magnesium salts, sprays and oils
HEPA air filter – removes dust, allergens, pet dander, moldspores and plant pollens from the air
Probiotic for stomach/gut health
Eating a healthy diet rich in plant based foods and minimising processed foods

Thank you to everyone who responded and helped to create this list. This list was created by members of the Migraine World Summit community to benefit each other. Even the smallest contribution can lead to big results when we all act to support each other.

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