Migraines Really Suck. Here’s How to Deal.

After about 5000 migraines, I’ve got some tips to share.


Ouch! I had the worst migraine ever yesterday. This is something I’ve been dealing with since I was a little girl. I remember I had a really bad one when I was seven years old; I was in the back of my parents car, and I was puking in the backseat as we drove down the highway. Not fun! My poor mom was seriously freaked out, so we pulled over to the nearest pharmacy, where she bought out half the store in search for anything that would help make the pain go away. Unfortunately, none of it really helped. Over-the-counter meds aren’t very helpful once you’re in full-blown pain. For most people, once you get a migraine, there isn’t much you can do. It’s kinda like when you get a cold. You can only help by catching it in the first hour or two. After that, it’s down the rabbit hole…

Migraines Really Suck. Here’s How to Deal.

That kind of pain makes you want to find any & every possible way to prevent it from ever happening again. Over the years, I’ve done a lot of homework on how to prevent and treat this nemesis. Hope you find these tips helpful, they’ve made a world of difference for me:


Migraines Really Suck. Here’s How to Deal.1) Learn your triggers: Everybody’s body chemistry is slightly different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all recommendation for what to cut out of your diet to eliminate your migraines. So the best thing to do is keep a journal where you record what you eat and when, what other factors in the day might contribute, how well you slept and when you went to bed, etc. Then use a big red marker and circle the stuff you wrote about what you ate, etc. for the three hours before you got a headache (if it’s morning, circle the night before). Then start looking for patterns. Once you see a pattern, try eliminating those from your diet/life. For some people it’s wine with sulfites, or chocolate, or staying up late… Once you figure it out, you should be able to avoid most of your migraines.

2) Magnesium: Research found that people with migraines are often deficient in magnesium. I’ve gotten far fewer migraines since I started taking this.

3) Drink lots of water: Plenty of migraines are triggered by dehydration. (I always have trouble with this one!)

4) Feverfew and Griffonia: These are herbal supplements (the best kind!) that are effective (for some people) at warding off migraines. You’ll have to take them daily for at least a couple of months to start to see a difference.

5) Meditation: A leading expert on migraines has listed meditation as one of his top two recommendations for migraine prevention. (I now meditate twice daily — on most days, that is.)

6) Omega 3 oils: A dose of these healthy fats can fight inflammation, which is a likely culprit in many headaches/migraines. Camelina oil is a great source.


1) Ice: Stick some ice in a zip-lock bag (or, better yet, buy two cold-packs with straps on them, so you can always have one that’s cold) and lean your head on it. It helps, I swear!

Migraines Really Suck. Here’s How to Deal.2) Medication: I’ve been prescribed crazy pills for my headaches and told that’s my only option (it’s not). Some worked brilliantly and some didn’t help in the slightest. Some made me feel sick and others made my brain feel all gooey. Check out the super scary list of potentially lifelong side-effects for drugs before you use them, and proceed with caution.

Keep in mind that for most migraine meds, taking half of a pill has exactly the same benefits as taking a full pill, but with less side effects. Try taking half and waiting a couple of hours to see if that’s all you need. It’ll be easier on your body in the long run.

3) Acupuncture: This one doesn’t work for me personally, but I’ve talked to many who swear it works. Can get pricey though…

4)  Head rub: There may not be a body of research on this one, but a simple, light head rub sometimes helps me feel a little bit better. Then again, it might just be all the attention I’m getting from my hubby 😉

5) Caffeine: Coffee has been shown the help reduce the pain of a mild migraine once it’s begun, by narrowing the blood vessels. Plus, it’s a good excuse to send your boyfriend to Starbucks for you!

6) Celery Juice: I know this one sounds crazy, but sometimes when I have a migraine I skip the painkillers and instead make myself 16oz of cold-pressed celery juice. It usually gets rid of my headache pretty quickly.

My dad used to suffer from migraines too. Apparently, migraines are hereditary. However, in the last few years they’ve disappeared for him. They say that can happen as you age. Apparently, this is partly due to the fact that our brains shrink as we get older, so the brain is no longer so close to the side of your skull. Guess it’s one of the things I can look forward to about getting older! In the meantime, thanks for giving me such a big brain, Dad! :-/

Do you ever get migraines? Have any tips…?

Avatar of Hilary Rowland

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 45 Comments

  1. Avatar of Kristina Beauty

    Massage works well for me. It’s also cheaper than acupuncture. If you try to asess the pain of your migraine, it feels a little tight around your neck area. Most of the time it’s because of overwork.

  2. Avatar of Gloria Murillo

    I’ve never really thought about prevention instead of treatment. I usually just do whatever I want until the migraine comes. I know, I’m bad! I hate migraines but I don’t even know what triggers mine.?

  3. Avatar of Tammy Torres

    Tammy Torres

    Actually, if you try to relax yourself and practice meditation, or even setting a time within the day wherein you’re not allowed to think of anything else other than to relaxand to let go of negative vibes, migraine will be kept at bay.

  4. Avatar of Caroline Deisler

    Caroline Deisler

    Crazy pills don’t work well with migraines. Geez, doctors will prescribe anything as long as a portion of it goes inside their pockets.

  5. Avatar of Whitney Berry

    When I get migraines, resting seems to b the best cure for me. I also make sure that I keep all my blinds shut and I sleep it off. I also stay away from my gadgets at all cost. It’s the blue light that makes it all worse. However, I make sure that I don’t oversleep because it makes me feel horrible. I just make sure that I rest, eat well and get hydrated. It’s been working well for me unless I have a busy day ahead and I need to do a couple of things and not just lay around sleeping.

  6. Avatar of Tammy Monsten

    There’s feverfew tea and it tastes fine, but I’m not sure about the effect.

  7. Avatar of Whitney Moore

    Where can I get magnesium supplements?? I can’t find them in my local drugstore….

  8. Avatar of Myrtle Bailey

    Myrtle Bailey

    Where can I get magnesium supplements?? I can’t find them in my local drugstore….

  9. Avatar of Sandy Green

    Sandy Green

    My dad would always tell me that the ice pack really works. It doesn’t work for me though. My migraines are really terrible and I’ve become dependent on medicines already. As bad as it may seem, it’s the only way to get rid of my migraines and as much as I want to stop it and look for other remedies, I don’t think my migraines are that patient to wait for me to find a better cure. Acupuncture doesn’t work either, been there, done that. Hydrating? Sure, I do that too.

  10. Avatar of Shirley Haynes

    Shirley Haynes

    Coffee really works well for me. Actually, caffeinated and chocolate drinks work well for my migraines.

Load 10 more comments

Join in the Conversation! Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Urbanette moderates and edits comments for grammar and to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Please use your full name. Moderators can only approve comments written in English.

All content is strictly copyright. Contact us for permission.