Cue the Jaws music. It was one of those mornings I knew it was coming…with a vengeance. It started with the baby crying at 2:00 a.m., and by morning it had arrived. The thing I dread most. The one thing that breaks me more than a sink full of dirty dishes, more than piles of laundry…yes, even more than four simultaneously fussing kids.
Perhaps you, too, are familiar with my number one archenemy. Perhaps you have experienced unwanted visits from this threatening force that tears your head apart, leaves you blind and nauseous, begging for mercy. If you know these evil headaches well, I have some tips that may help you prevent them and hopefully take the edge off.
So here goes: My top 10 migraine tricks, some au naturale, some not. Whether the cause is stress, a herd of noisy kids, a food allergy, or being hunched over your laptop typing out this blog, a migraine is nothing to mess with. Be as proactive as you can to avoid these evil beasts.
- Drink lots of water. Hydration is often the cause of a migraine, so get hydrated. When you feel a headache coming on, down a tall glass of water (and add a painkiller to it if you can to get ahead of it).
- Sometimes it’s too late for medicine, especially if you’ve been running ragged after your kids with no time for a nap or food. By this point you may already have a throbbing head and upset stomach. If you can’t keep pill medicine down, crush it into powder form and drink it with ginger ale to help with the nausea.
- Put a cool compress on your neck, forehead, temples…wherever the pain is. You can use a frozen bag of veggies wrapped in a thin cloth as a compress.
- This one surprised me, but it works. Use pure mint essential oil on your temples, neck—wherever the pain is. If you don’t have EO, try Vicks Vapo-Rub, which has essential oils in it. (And no, I don’t sell oils, so this isn’t a marketing gimmick.)
- For fellow moms of little ones, this may sound impossible. If you can find a free moment, take a nap in a dark, soundless room. If your migraine has been going on all day, make sure you take pain meds before bed. Try not to tough it out if you don’t have to—the objective is to get rid of it so you can stay migraine-free. Martyrdom is not necessary when dealing with migraines.
- This is one my favorites, but you need a willing buddy or awesome spouse like mine. Hang your neck off the edge of your bed and ask a spouse, friend, family member to slowly roll your neck around as you let it hang as dead weight. This is one of my hubby’s best tricks to help me overcome a migraine, as my headaches often start in my neck and this tactic loosens my neck immensely. Make sure to thank them profusely afterwards!
- If you are having a particularly stressful week/month/year, schedule yourself a massage or spa day. Perhaps you’re saying, “I can’t afford that!” If you cut out buying juice boxes and fancy snacks for the kids for a couple weeks, there’s your money. You’re worth it!
- Avoid salty foods or foods with additives. If you tend to suffer from a lot of migraines, keep a log of what you eat. It may be an intolerance to certain foods or spices (like MSG, gluten, or God forbid, chocolate) causing them.
- Take a warm bath to aid in relaxation. Add some lavender salts to bring it up a notch.
- Take a walk. I know this sounds like torture in the throes of a migraine, but fresh air and light exercise can raise your endorphins (which make you feel happy) while circulating your blood. This combo sometimes works for me when my migraine is just starting, before it gets incapacitating.
I hope these tips help you maintain a pain-free head this summer!