Ice vs Heat for Migraine Treatment

Icing and heating are common practices in treating Migraine but what method is best?  Well, like everything else, we are all different and I use both at different times for different reasons.  When I was pregnant there was not a time in my first trimester that I was not doing one or the other.  I wasn’t able to take medication so this gave me relief or at least piece of mind that I was doing something.  When push comes to shove, ice is really the best for me when a migraine is escalating or I’m hit with it.  When I am at a 10, I don’t just put on ice eyes, I make a complete ice helmet to freeze my brain from screaming.  I use two massive ice packs that my husband received from knee surgery, which covers my entire head.  I then lay on a large pack to freeze the back of my head and neck.  Along with one (sometimes two) eye masks.  I cover all of this with a towel then add pillows to give extra pressure.  It needs to be part of my treatment.  Without it, I am not as successful at fighting my migraine monster.

During the day I mostly heat.  This is because it’s freezing where I live and the heat gives me added comfort.  I also use it because it allows me to hang it over my shoulders and still be mobile.  I cook, drive, and do everything (except go in public, although it would be nice on some days).  My neck carries a ton of pain and my muscles are in knots most of the time.  I always have neck and shoulder tension which triggers migraines making me tighter thus perpetuating the cycle.  Along with this, I have two small children that have me lifting, carrying, bending and over exerting myself a lot.  I also had nerve decompression surgery on the back of my head.  Although the nerve is decompressed, I still get tremendous pressure and squeezing along the back of my head and neck.  So the main point with heat is that I need it to loosen the muscles so I can better stretch them out and release a bit of tightness.

So all in all, ice vs heat isn’t really a battle for me.  They are more partners in crime against my head.  I guess in my case, I use heat as a preventative and ice as my abortive.  Just another natural way to help me.  My meds are the only thing that can rescue me, but natural remedies need to be in my bag of tricks!  And let’s just say that bag is pretty full.

Sarah Rathsack

I tell stories of My Migraine Life. I'm a mom, wife, teacher, and chronic migraine sufferer. I tell my stories and advocate in my life searching for health in a positive honest way.

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1 Comment

  1. mymigrainelife on December 22, 2015 at 9:07 am

    Reblogged this on My Migraine Life and commented:

    This weekend I celebrated Christmas with my in laws. My husband gave me a heated neck wrap. As I look back at what I wrote last year, I see that not much has changed. I still use both (check out my “things I love page to see my favorite ice). What do you prefer? Heat or ice?



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