By Brian Acton
The occasional headache can typically be addressed with over the counter medication, rest, or just waiting it out. But when you suffer from chronic migraine headaches, you know that they can be totally debilitating and prevent you from performing everyday tasks.
For many people, cold therapy can be used to provide migraine relief, as it’s one of the top home methods for dealing with migraine headaches. In fact, it’s an age-old method - the first recorded medical use of cold therapy for headache patients occurred in 1849.
To facilitate cold therapy, cold packs can be applied to the affected areas to help relieve the pain and make your migraine more manageable.
How Cold Packs Can Reduce Migraine Pain
Cold packs can be applied to different areas of your head or neck during a migraine, and participants in many studies have reported significant pain reduction.
Though there may not be a definitive answer on why cold therapy works, there are a number of theories:
- The gate theory suggests that the sensation of cold overwhelms and blocks transmission of pain stimulus to the brain. In other words, the cold temperatures restrict your body’s ability to register the pain you are experiencing.
- Cold temperatures may cool the blood flow to the carotid artery in your neck, reducing inflammation and relieving pain.
- Cold temperatures may also provide a numbing effect, which dulls the sensation of migraine pain.
How to Use Cold Packs to Relieve Your Migraine
Cold packs are a home remedy, and there are several ways to use them. They also may not be effective for everyone. If you have questions or concerns about relieving migraines at home, you may want to consult your physician to determine the best course of action.
There are a variety of ways to use cold packs for migraines, and the right application for you might require some experimentation. You can apply them to your neck or the base of your skull or apply them directly over the area that is experiencing pain. The cold pack should be applied during the onset of a migraine and kept in place for 15 to 25 minutes.
Versatile cold packs like the Clover Pack Cold Compression Therapy Pack or the Vinyl Cold Corpak can be cooled in the freezer for at least an hour and retain cold temperatures for up to 30 minutes. Their flexible shapes allow them to be applied to a variety of body areas, giving you some options for relieving your migraine headache.