Even a small amount of relief from headache pain is welcome in the midst of a migraine attack. Generally, the earlier you can detect a developing migraine, the sooner you can treat it. Discomforting though a migraine aura is, those who do experience migraine aura often learn to use it as an early warning device and start preventative treatment quickly. Of course, often a migraine aura only gives the individual a few minutes to prepare for the headache pain.
Whether you get advanced notice of an approaching migraine or not, the following tips may provide you with quick migraine relief. Bear in mind though that not everyone responds to these tactics in the same way — what helps one person may have the opposite effect on someone else. You may have to try several different migraine relief strategies to discover what works best for you.
Massage and Muscle Tension
Muscle tension can both cause and aggravate migraines. Massage can be a quick relief to migraine. Gently massaging the face, neck and shoulders can relieve muscle tension in those areas, and hopefully relieve pain. Having someone massage your back may also help, and some people report that a gentle, but firm foot massage also helps.
A medical science known as acupressure is based on the fact that gently massaging certain pressure points on the human body provides pain relief. Pressure is applied to these points firmly, but without excess force: acupressure should not cause pain. If it does, stop applying pressure immediately. While the body has many acupressure points, two areas are of importance to headache sufferers.
At the base of the skull where the skull meets the neck are two points, which feel like small indentations. These acupressure points are about two inches apart, and, when gentle pressure is applied to them, pain-killing endorphins are released. Press gently but firmly on these points for one or two minutes to activate endorphin release.
Another proven headache fighting pressure point lies in the fleshy area between the thumb and the index finger. A gentle, circular massage on this area can also bring pain relief for migraineurs.
WARNING: Do not use this particular technique if you’re pregnant, however — manipulating this area can induce labor.
Niacin, or vitamin B3, is sometimes taken to relieve migraines. The vitamin causes blood to rush to the skin’s blood vessels and seems to relieve headache pain. The doses of niacin required to treat migraines are, however, quite high, and side effects such as flushing, nausea, heartburn and even liver damage have been known to occur. For this reason niacin supplements should only be used under the direction of a trained health professional.
Sensory awareness often becomes painfully acute during a migraine. Sudden movements, for instance, should be avoided if possible. Many people find lying down in a quiet, darkened room provides some relief. Bright lights, flashing lights, or any other intense sensory stimulation should be avoided.
A cold compress on the back of the neck may provide relief for some, while others prefer alternating the cold with heat. Or you can try using the cold compress while soaking your feet in warm water. A bath or shower may also help.
You might also want to read about alternative treatments for migraine headaches.