How to Stop Migraines: Quick & Easy Tricks

Migraines aren’t just regular headaches; these extreme headaches can be debilitating, lasting up to several days and causing people to miss out on both work and play. In fact, for people with chronic migraines, this illness is closer to chronic pain than it is to the occasional headache.

Fight back against migraines.

Thankfully, there are a few ways you can stop a migraine once it has started. These tips come down to knowing how your body reacts to migraines and taking these steps to lower the migraine’s effects on your body. You can also prevent many migraines by learning what triggers them and working to avoid those conditions. 

What are some tricks for stopping migraines?

Migraines are often aggravated by environmental stressors, which can include the classic example of bright lights. When lights cause or worsen a migraine, the solution is fairly simple…

10. Dim the Lights

Why this trick can work

Bright lights can be one of the worst triggers and agitators of migraines. For people with extreme migraines, even ambient light passing through eyelids can be intolerable. The solution? Eliminate all light sources or reduce them as much as possible. There are fortunately several ways to go about this.

Tips for implementing this trick

For instance, if you’re at home, dim or turn off the lights to reduce their impact on your migraine. You can also hang heavy black-out curtain to dramatically reduce your exposure to light. If light is a constant trigger for your migraines, you can also dim the brightness of your devices’ screens in order to reduce the risk of triggering a migraine in the first place. 

Like bright lights, loud sounds can be especially hazardous for people with migraines. Just knowing how to control your noise exposure can help stop a migraine…

9. Lower the Volume

Why this trick can work

Just like with dimming the lights, lowering the volume can be an effective way to stop (or lessen the effects of) your migraine. Why? Because migraine headaches typically cause people to become much more sensitive to sound. In extreme cases, even the background noise of daily life can be too much to stand.

Tips for implementing this trick

For extreme cases, earplugs can be a great way to reduce the pain and discomfort caused by excessive noise. For people with less extreme symptoms, just lowering the volume of your electronic devices can do wonders. 

What about day-to-day life, though?

If sound is a known trigger for your migraines, you can stave off these severe headaches by watching your exposure to loud noises. Things like taking breaks outside when you are at a concert or carrying a pair of earplugs can give you control over your exposure to loud sounds in a noisy world. 

Controlling light and sound exposure can help people with migraines control their stressors; however, there’s another popular method to controlling migraines that’s as easy as a trip to Starbucks…

8. Get Some Caffeine 

Why this trick can work

Caffeine is the classic medication for a migraine, which is why many common over-the-counter medicines for these types of headaches often include caffeine. Now, the intake of caffeine, a stimulant, might seem counterintuitive for reducing migraine problems. After all, since many migraine treatments involve relaxing and taking it easy, why would people recommend caffeine for these headaches, too?

The answer? Caffeine’s vasoconstrictive properties. You see, caffeine causes veins in the body to become mildly more constricted. Why? Because headaches—especially migraines—cause the veins in the head to expand. So, naturally, the vasoconstrictive properties of caffeine counteract this condition. The result? Caffeine can greatly ease the stress and pain that comes with a migraine.

Tips for implementing this trick

Just be careful not to take too much caffeine, as excesses can cause migraines in some people. 

All in all, for some people, intaking some caffeine is a great medical treatment for migraines. If caffeine is one of your triggers or you have other medical conditions that limit your caffeine use, though, you’ll have to try a different method…

7. Try a Cold or Hot Compress

Why this trick can work

When a migraine sets in, people can become extremely sensitive to their environments, especially temperature. The solution? Using the opposite temperature. In other words, if you’re becoming sensitive to heat, slap on a cold compress. If the cold is worsening your migraine? Grab a hot compress.

Tips for implementing this trick

While the forehead is the classic location for a compress, you can also try the base of the neck or the chest to help ease the symptoms of a migraine. 

Now, many of these treatments for migraines are about mitigating symptoms. This approach is called symptomatic treatment. This approach is usually done when treating the underlying illness is not possible, but the symptoms can be treated. Thankfully, there are a few treatments that may work for some people, such as…  

6. Stay Hydrated

Why this trick can work

Dehydration is a leading cause of migraines. Really, when the body is running out of fluids, it’s only a matter of time before a headache sets in. Dehydration can not only cause migraines, but worsen them as well. Specifically, migraines can cause nausea and vomiting, which in turn can worsen dehydration. This worsening dehydration in turn makes migraines worse—an awful cycle. The best way to combat this cycle? Stay hydrated when a migraine sets in. 

Tips for implementing this trick

While water is the best go-to, there are other beverages that can help. Sports drinks, for instance, not only hydrate the body, but can also help replenish sugars and salts lost through dehydration. Now, it can be hard to keep beverages down, especially if a migraine is particularly intense. Sparkling water, lemon lime sodas, sports drinks, teas, and other light beverages can therefore be great choices to relieve both the migraine and the upset stomach it can cause. 

Of course, grabbing a hot beverage can do more to hydrate you and soothe an upset stomach; it can also play a part in the next trick for stopping migraines… 

5. Practice Relaxation

Why this trick can work

Migraines thrive on stress and chaos. Constant stress, changes in sleep patterns, and changes in diet are just a few stressors that can bring on a migraine. So, after a migraine has already set in, relaxation can be one of the best ways to limit the damage it can do. 

Tips for implementing this trick

Relaxation is different for everyone. It could be listening to your favorite music playing softly, sitting outside, or meditation. For this method to work, remember that learning how to relax takes time. When a migraine sets in, don’t be afraid to try new ways to relax. Your body will quickly let you know whether or not it is helping. Be patient.

Now, relaxation is a great trick for managing headaches because it ties so closely to our next trick…

4. Stress Management 

Why this trick can work

Relaxation is just one way to limit stress. And why is stress management important? Because stress is a high risk factor for migraines: individuals who experience high stress are at greater risk of experiencing frequent migraines. This fact is especially true for individuals who experience chronic stress and have trouble recognizing that they are currently in a high-stress condition. 

When most people think of a stress-induced migraine, they often think of major life changes like getting married, moving, or an unexpected job loss. While all of these events can definitely cause migraines, they are less likely than common stressors. Everyday stressors are, in fact, the leading cause of headaches. 

Tips for implementing this trick

To avoid this kind of migraine, minimize your daily stress. Of course, this is easier said than done. While some websites recommend practices like mindfulness and meditation—and these tricks can help—the true key to reducing everyday stress is to identify your specific stressors and see what can be done to eliminate them.

For example, living in a messy house, eating unhealthy food, and difficult coworkers can be normal stressors that lead to migraines. Fortunately, these issues can often be worked through or mitigated in order to reduce the impact of your migraine headaches. 

Another way to break through light stress?…

3. Light Exercise

Why this trick can work

This one might seem a little strange at first, but some light exercise can help you manage your migraine. While relaxation, low-light environments, and minimizing noise are still important, getting up and moving can also take the edge off your migraine. 

How does this all work?

When you start to exercise, your body releases endorphins. Now, endorphins trigger a feeling of euphoria and calm. This release can counteract some of the worst aspects of your migraine. 

Tips for implementing this trick

Fortunately, you don’t have to run a marathon or power through a full heavy-lifting session at the gym. Some light yoga or a brisk walk can be enough to alleviate a migraine.

Just remember to stay hydrated and to keep the exercise light. If you go too hard with your exercise, you can aggravate the migraine or risk dehydration. Remember that the goal isn’t to get the heart racing, but to just get moving and “shake off the dust,” so to speak. This way, you can stay relaxed and calm while still releasing some endorphins. 

The best trick of all?

While all of these strategies are effective for reducing the symptoms of a migraine, the best way to stop a migraine is to prevent one from happening in the first place. Fortunately, there are a few strategies for preventing one…

2. Know Your Triggers

Migraines are usually precipitated by something known as a trigger. In other words, triggers are any specific conditions that can cause a migraine. If this definition sounds broad, that’s because it is—migraine triggers can be different for each person. Knowing these triggers ahead of time will help you reduce the frequency of your intense headaches. After all, the best way to stop a migraine is to prevent it from ever starting. 

How to track triggers

When it comes to finding out your triggers, the best method is to start a migraine journal. You don’t have to write during your migraine; try either when you feel symptoms setting in or after. When you journal, take notes about everything you did that day and the day before. Keep a special note for things like alcohol consumption, hydration, hormonal changes, and any notable changes in your sleep pattern or lifestyle. Over time, you will be able to track your migraine triggers with this journal by noticing patterns.

Common triggers

Now, there are a few common triggers for migraines, such as dehydration, changes in sleep patterns or conditions, too much or too little caffeine, hormonal changes like menstruation and menopause, as well as other factors. Some people have even reported that overstimulation and loud environments can trigger their migraines. Keep in mind that each person has unique triggers, which is why a journal is so effective—because it keeps track of your triggers.

So, what’s the takeaway when it comes to managing migraines?

1. Final Thoughts

Migraines are extremely difficult to manage; these intense headaches can make it difficult to get out of bed, let alone function in everyday life.

Knowing (and avoiding) your triggers is key.

Knowing how to lessen the symptoms of a migraine and how to recognize your triggers can stop these intense headaches and prevent them from ever starting.

The easiest way to track these triggers? With a journal, where you record items such as exercise, food, drink, and light and sound exposure; list these items the day before and the day of a migraine. Over time, you will be able to notice patterns associated with your migraines. Once you notice these triggers, you can take active steps to avoid or diminish them in the future, leading to less of these headaches happening in the first place.

You aren’t powerless when a migraine starts.

However, preventing migraines isn’t the only way to deal with them. Once one starts, you can also take active measures to fight them, such as dimming lights and sounds, hydrating, relaxing, and more.

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