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My List: What Helps with Migraine Headaches

Early on in my migraine journey I didn’t know how to identify when a migraine headache was coming on. I remember many days hiding in dark rooms wanting to put my head through a wall from the pain that nothing was touching. No meds, no massage, no nothing. Just pain like my head was splitting wide open. I would have done anything to get rid of that pain. I had no idea what helps with migraine headaches, and that there were products or medications that could be used to help with my symptoms.

I’ve grown up a bit and definitely grown more knowledgable about my migraine headaches. For instance, I’ve found my triggers are mostly things like barometric pressure, hydration, lighting, temperature, and sleep. I know many of them come from a condition called Occipital Neuralgia, and likely I’ll end up needing nerve blockers to prevent them. I also know how to identify when one is coming on like dizziness, aura, and a sensitivity to light and smell.

But what can I do to stave off the symptoms. Well, the first and foremost, I talked to doctors about what helps with migraine headaches. They prescribed medications to treat them. And they are a blessing. They’re lifesaving when it comes to the pain. However, there are times when the headache breaks through or I’m just not ready to take the meds, so what else helps?

I did some research into what helps with migraine headaches, and I found several products that work to stave off symptoms either before the meds kick in or to prevent the migraine altogether. I’m sharing them in the hopes that these can help you, too. It’s part of the ongoing “My List” series that I’m putting together of things that can help us get through our day to day Spoonie experience.

Note: The links below are affiliate links, so we do get a small commission over any purchases made from those links (within 24 hours of clicking on them). Don’t feel the obligation to buy, but we want to make sure you know.

Here are the products that I find the most useful. I’ve put them in categories, because I’m like that. I may be sick, but I’m not about to give up my Type A tendencies. However, I want to stress HEAVILY that you discuss these products with your doctors, because what helps with migraine headaches for me might not be the same for you–and can actually be harmful if contraindicated. These are what work for me, but things like salt pills or heating pads can put undue stress on the body in ways that could interfere with other treatments. A doctor’s opinion is always recommended before starting anything.

Stay Hydrated

Water is incredibly important at preventing and treating our migraines, and dehydration is a major contributor to mine. You will rarely see me far from a water bottle. Between dysautonomia and migraines, I might as well be a fish…even though I’m a terrible swimmer. Sigh. In any case, these are some of my favorite ways to keep myself hydrated throughout the day.

CodiCile 2 Pack Water Bottles

Drink up, buttercups! I will get any water bottle that helps me keep drinking and reminds me to drink. I like this set for two reasons…first, there are two bottles with two sizes. So when I head out into the world, I can grab the smaller bottle that’s easy to carry. Second, there’s a straw. If you’re like me, a straw makes you drink more and faster.

Okay, and then there is a third reason…and it’s the cleaning brushes. I can’t stand when my straw gets nasty. These tools are just extra help in keeping things clean!

Stanley Quencher H2.0 Soft Matte

I would be remiss if I didn’t include a Stanley tumbler. Yes, I have the ever popular pink one, which you will see in many of the TikTok and Instagram posts. I like it because it’s bright, has a straw, and stays really clean.

Now, these tumblers aren’t cheap. I get that, but if you can afford it, it’s totally worth it. These things take a beating, so when you’re clumsy like me (hiiiii, EDS!!), being able to have sturdy items is key.

Buoy Electrolyte Drops

I have some serious issues with staying hydrated and keeping salt in my body, so I use these electrolyte drops to keep myself balanced. When my electrolytes are good, it helps to minimize my headaches.

I chose Buoy because you can put these drops in any drink. For instance, I don’t start a day without coffee or tea. I like that these drops can go in the coffee–especially since putting them in my water is complicated by my cromolyn going in there.

Sodium Chloride (Salt) Tablets

Again, dysautonomia is what got me started on my salt pills habit, and I have to say these area great alternative to what I used to do–drink all the pickle juice. Yes, I was that kid.

For me salt keeps my dysautonomia in check, and it also helps my body with hydration. I have a specific amount my doctor wants me to take each day, and we monitor my heart and cardiovascular system to make sure my benefits don’t outweigh the risks. So I highly recommend a doctor’s opinion before adding salt to your diet.

Water Bottle Carrier Bag

One of the things that used to hinder my water intake was that I hated carrying a bottle around. It’s awkward and difficult to handle, and if you put it in a purse…be prepared for everything to get drenched when it opens or leaks.

So I found this bag for my Stanley Tumbler, and it’s perfect!! I can carry my bottle as well as other items I might need like my credit cards, Aquaphor, and keys. On most days, it’s just what I need. The strap also allows me to wear it cross body, so no pressure on just one shoulder. Hydration and balance…love it!

Regulate Temperature

Oh to have a body that can regulate my temperature properly…alas, a girl can only dream sometimes. Add in perimenopause and it just gets crazier! I swear. I have “hot flashes” that go on forever, because my body can’t cool itself, and moments where I freeze even in a sauna. It wouldn’t be as bad if those temperature swings didn’t cause brutal migraines. Yes, it still wouldn’t be great, I know. However, adding in an extra amount of pain isn’t what I’d wish on anyone. So here are some products that help me with my temperature swings:

TheraICE Migraine Relief Cap

This was one of the first things I bought to help with my migraines. First, my head can get really hot when I’m suffering, so this cap helps to cool my head. Still, i liked that it was flexible and I could warm it up if I needed to.

The second reason I love this cap is that it puts pressure on my skull. It’s not a huge amount of pressure, but it gives it a light squeeze that seems to help with the pain. The material is soft, and it’s comfortable to wear. It has the added bonus of blocking out light, which can be a major problem with migraine headaches.

RENPHO Eyeris 1 – Heated Eye Massager

My sister introduced me to this gem, and I love it. While my migraines may originate from the back of my neck, I find relief in the pressure around my eyes and on my temples. This eye massager has a variety of settings that massage the eye area with pressure and movement.

Plus, you can turn the heat on and off! Great for days when heat isn’t my friend, but I still want that massage. Or turn the heat on when I need to stimulate my dry eyes (which also can cause headaches due to the blurred vision).

You can also turn off the music or connect to your phone so you can listen to something more soothing.

Weighted Heating Pad for Neck and Shoulders

Okay, so I know I said that heat could be a trigger for my migraines. Sometimes, though, it’s not. Sometimes tension in my neck and shoulders is so bad that it will trigger a migraine.

So one of the tools in my migraine fighting arsenal is a heating pad designed especially for the shoulder and neck area. When that clothes hanger pain starts, I can use this heating pad to relieve some of that tension. In the end, it helps to prevent that pain from spreading over the rest of my cranium.

Oscillating Pedestal Fan

A fan is essential to preventing migraines. I use them all year round. They keep me cool when I work out, it’s hot outside, or even when I am thinking so hard I start to sweat (it happens more often that you’d think).

I like this fan because it has a remote, so I can change the settings from anywhere in the room. It also oscillates up, down, and around. That means air moves in glorious ways when I’m running hot. And you can adjust the height, so I can have it blowing on me if I’m standing, sitting, or laying down. I mean, it’s a dream fan for me.

Sleep Well

Lack of sleep is a huge trigger for my migraines. With other aches and pains, sleep can be difficult. So I like to do everything I can to set myself up for a decent night’s sleep. I’m petrified of sleep aids, because I am a control freak who can’t handle the idea I’d do something I can’t remember. So I make sure I’m absolutely comfortable in my bed at the same time every night.

Contour Memory Foam Pillows

I am a side and stomach sleeper. Well, if you can call my pretzel state that, I suppose. Any way you look at it, though, I can’t sleep on my back, and I need a firm pillow. I find that a memory foam pillow is the most helpful for the weird positions I sleep in. Plus, the little bump on the edge is great for allowing me to relax my neck a bit.

Sherpa Fleece Weighted Blanket

There are a lot of weighted blankets out there, but I like one that isn’t too heavy and won’t irritate my sensitive skin. A sherpa fleece tends to be more comfortable for me. They’re really helpful when I go through a cold spell. They also help to alleviate anxiety so we can sleep a little better. Anxiety can be a cause of migraines, too.

Brown/White Noise Machine

I’m a brown noise person, and I’ll even go with green noise if brown noise isn’t available. Some of you might like to listen to something else to soothe your brain. This machine is great, because it has over 40 noises and even some music and lullabies.

I also like it, because it doesn’t connect to the phone, so I’m not tempted to doom scroll before trying to fall asleep. Let the phone rest a bit. And my eyes. And my anxiety.

Nasal Care

I’ve never had a tension or sinus headache that didn’t turn into a full blown migraine. It starts off so innocuous, and then…BOOM! Here’s pain that makes you want to die. So while a lot of my tools are designed to alleviate tension and stress on the mind and body, I also use these items to keep my sinuses as clear as I can from swelling and congestion.

Navage Nasal Care

When someone told me they used a neti pot to help with congestion, I thought they were crazy. Then I tried it, and I was hooked.

Except a neti pot can be a little weird to use, and can be difficult with having to lean over a sink or bowl.

The Navage system makes it easier. It pulls water through the nasal passages and keeps them hydrated and cleared out. It’s a life saver when I’m inflamed or stuffy, and the bonus is that it staves off what used to be an inevitable sinus headache that would become a migraine.

Fluticasone Propionate Nasal Sprays

So, I’m going to reiterate again that any medicine I use has been cleared by my medical team, and the Fluticasone is no different. It’s the generic Flonase, so it costs a little less, and it is my go to most of the year. It keeps my nasal passages clear and helps with my seasonal allergies that, you guessed it, trigger migraines.

And if all else fails…

Excedrin Migraine

When I first started getting migraines is when I discovered the blessing and curse that is Excedrin. I have the permission of my doctors to take this once in a while, but there was a point before I got other medication that I was taking a giant bottle every couple weeks.

That’s a way to end up with some massive kidney and liver damage.

So yes, this is a migraine pain product that may work in a pinch, but it shouldn’t be a regular go-to. And absolutely you should be discussing with your doctor what other medicines to take if you’re taking something like Excedrin for headaches all the time. There are great migraine meds on the market that don’t damage the body as much.

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