woman wearing sunglasses_indoo
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Slip on Shades

Does light makes you wince in pain? You could be one of the many people with migraine who have light sensitivity, called photophobia. If you can’t dim the brightness around you by drawing the curtains or turning off the lights, make your own darkness and wear sunglasses indoors.

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man reaching for alarm clock
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Stick to a Schedule

The key word is “regular.” Pick set times to go to bed and wake up every day. Exercise regularly. Stick to usual times for meals and snacks. Consistency helps your body know what’s coming up next and may give you fewer migraine attacks.

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woman using computer
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Get a Grip on Your Stress

It’s one of the biggest triggers for migraine pain. So aim to boost calm in your life. Un-busy your schedule where you can, but carve time for things you enjoy. Steady relief is your friend. If you stay stressed during the work week and relax only on the weekend, the shift can bring on migraine, too.

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woman smelling essential oil
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Block the Scents

If someone’s perfume or other odors set off your migraine, reach for a soothing scent like mint or coffee beans. A sniff of the substitute scent can block the smell that causes pain and may head off an attack.

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essential oil
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Aromatherapy Therapy

Speaking of scents, some smells may help dull headaches. Peppermint may make you less aware of pain, and lavender may lower your anxiety. You can apply them in their oil form to your temples or the inside of your wrist.

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woman taking a bath
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Turn Up the Heat

Warm compresses, a steamy shower, or a toasty soak in a bath can ease the tension of tight muscles that might add to your migraine pain.

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woman with ice pack on neck
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Cool Down

Go the other way and try a cold comfort. Some studies show that wrapping a cold pack around your neck when a migraine hits can lower your headache pain. Experts don’t know why that helps. Cooling down the blood as it makes its way to your brain may lower swelling and dull your pain.

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woman with tinted glasses
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Tame Screen Glare

Blue light is usually the hardest hue to handle when you deal regularly with migraine. That’s the color that glows from your computer and smartphone. So break away from screens when you feel a migraine coming on. Some people say rose-tinted glasses help by blocking blue light.

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person gripping sheets
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Have an Orgasm

It doesn’t work for everyone, but sex can be a migraine-buster for some. Experts think it may be because endorphins, aka the feel-good hormones, released during an orgasm act like natural painkillers. Masturbation is also an option.

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foot on tennis ball
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Roll Away Pain

Relaxing your feet can ease tension in other parts of your body, including your head. Sit and put your bare or sock-covered foot on a tennis ball and roll it around. Notice areas that are especially tender and focus in on those. Repeat on the other foot.

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person pinching hand
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Pinch Your Hand

Another spot you can target for tension relief is the fleshy pad between your thumb and first finger. Pinch this area with two fingers and feel around for soreness. One reason this might help is by giving you a feeling of control over your pain. 

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man breathing mindfully
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Breathe Mindfully

Focus as you breathe in and out for at least 10 minutes. That can flood your body with calm and lower your stress. Boost your relaxation and target the different muscle groups in your body as you inhale and exhale to release all your tension.

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Mute the Noise

Migraine can be triggered by just about any of your senses, including your hearing. Just like lights, loud noise can set off your migraine. Get to a quiet space when it hits. If you can’t, carry earplugs to block out the din on the spot.

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tea and saltines
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Settle Your Stomach

If migraines give you nausea, keep motion-sickness bands handy to ward off a queasy stomach. Sip peppermint tea and nibble saltines, which also can help a crummy tummy.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 05/27/2020 Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo on May 27, 2020


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  10. WebMD
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American Migraine Foundation: “5 Migraine Hacks From Our AMF Migraine Community,” “Headache Hygiene – What is it?” “Photophobia (Light Sensitivity) and Migraine,” “Complementary Therapies and Coping Tools.”

National Headache Foundation: “Can Aromatherapy Help with Migraine?”

Mayo Clinic: “Migraines: Simple steps to head off the pain.”

Hawaii Journal of Medicine & Public Health: “Randomized Controlled Trial: Targeted Neck Cooling in the Treatment of the Migraine Patient.”

Cephalalgia: “The impact of sexual activity on idiopathic headaches: an observational study.”

American Massage Therapy Association: “Tackling Migraines Head-On.”

Headache: “Noise as a trigger for headaches: relationship between exposure and sensitivity.”

American Academy of Ophthalmology: “Migraines: More Than Meets the Eye.”

Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo on May 27, 2020

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.