Medication is a proven way to treat and prevent migraines. But medication is only part of the story. It’s also important to take good care of yourself and understand how to cope with migraine pain when it strikes.
The same lifestyle choices that promote good health can also reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines.
In fact, knowing how to manage migraine pain with lifestyle and behavioral measures, as well as medication, can often be the most effective way to handle migraines.
Find a calm environment
At the first sign of a migraine, retreat from your usual activities if possible.
Turn off the lights. Migraines often increase sensitivity to light and sound. Relax in a dark, quiet room. Sleep if you can.
Try temperature therapy.
Apply hot or cold compresses to your head or neck. Ice packs have a numbing effect, which may dull the sensation of pain. Hot packs and heating pads can relax tense muscles. Warm showers or baths may have a similar effect.
Drink a caffeinated beverage.
In small amounts, caffeine alone can relieve migraine pain in the early stages or enhance the pain-reducing effects of acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and aspirin.
Be careful, however. Drinking too much caffeine too often can lead to withdrawal headaches later on.
Migraines may keep you from falling asleep or wake you up at night. Likewise, migraines are often triggered by a poor night’s sleep.