Is Hot or Ice Therapy Better for Migraine?

is heat better than ice therapy

Is Hot or Ice Therapy Better for Migraine? Ice therapy 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 peace of mind that I was doing something.

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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 cover 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.

Both hot and cold therapies can be beneficial for migraine, but the effectiveness may vary from person to person. Some individuals find relief with cold therapy, while others prefer heat therapy. It’s important to understand that migraine is a complex condition, and what works for one person may not work for another.

Ice vs Heat for Migraine Treatment

To determine which therapy works best for you, you can try both options and see which one brings you more relief. Some people even find alternating between hot and cold therapies to be helpful. Additionally, it’s worth exploring other migraine management strategies such as medication, lifestyle changes, stress reduction techniques, and maintaining a regular sleep schedule. If migraine attacks persist or worsen, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

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Is Heat Good for Migraine?

 

huggaroo heat therapy

Heat therapy can help relax tense muscles and improve blood flow. Applying a warm compress, taking a warm shower, or using a heating pad or hot water bottle on the neck or head area can provide relief for some individuals.

During the day I mostly heat.  This is because it’s freezing where I live and the heat gives me added comfort.  Ice therapy is not needed when I’m already freezing. 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 going 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 migraine 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.

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Does Ice Help with Migraine?

Headahce Hat

Cold therapy, such as applying an ice pack or a cold compress, can help numb the area and provide temporary pain relief. Cold can also constrict blood vessels, which may help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms.

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.

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Headache Hat- Ice Hat

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Sarah Rathsack

Sarah tells stories of My Migraine Life. Living life through Migraine consists of advocacy, treatment, prevention, and searching for health and happiness in a positive honest way. Her kids, husband, dog, family and friends motivate her to make a difference in the Migraine World.

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2 Comments

  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?



  2. Huggaroo Weighted Lap Pad, Neck Wrap and Eye Compress (Review) - My Migraine Life on September 4, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    […] which is a migraine trigger and pain. I often use heat and cold to combat migraine symptoms. I use ice and heat for different reasons and heat on my face is to treat sinus […]



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