Is Heat or Cold Better for Migraines?

woman working with a migraine

Suffering from headaches and migraines can be exhausting and debilitating, especially when they occur frequently. However, a reliance on over-the-counter medication and painkillers can be an expensive and potentially harmful solution.

For these reasons, discovering an organic pain relief solution, such as heat and cold therapy, is a top priority for many people suffering from migraines and headache symptoms.

But which is better for migraine relief - heat or ice? Keep reading this post to find out.

Migraine Causes & Symptoms

Cited as the third most common illness in the world and the 12th most disabling disorder in the U.S., migraines are far from just a sore, achy headache.

They come with waves of symptoms, from sound and light sensitivity to surges of nausea and potentially vomiting paired with a throbbing pain on one side of an individual's head, suffering from a migraine is no laughing matter.

Much like with upper back pain, women are far more prone to migraine symptoms than men.

In fact, data shows that migraines are three times more common in women than men, with the symptoms typically peaking when an individual turns 30.

The impact migraines have on the global economy also cannot be ignored. Research from Lancaster University demonstrates that migraines cost the EU economy $95 billion a year on average, with the most common type of migraine being:

  • Migraine with or without aura
  • Chronic migraine
  • Menstrual migraine
  • Medication-overuse migraine

Migraines typically last between two to three days, however, it is not known what causes them.

Research has suggested that common causes of migraines can be related to:

  • Family genetics
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Stress and tiredness
  • Irregular eating patterns
  • Start of a period
  • Not enough exercise
  • Too much caffeine

By keeping a migraine diary, you may be able to discover the root cause and trigger of your migraine. Simply record any migraines, what you were doing before the migraine started and how long it lasted.

Once a consistent pattern is identified, you can discuss treatment options with your doctor.

woman using Rhia Nano in Alpine White

How Does Heat Therapy Help Migraines?

Heat therapy is regarded as a scientifically backed method of migraine pain relief, with the therapy working by stimulating blood flow and relaxing muscle tension.

A patient can apply the heat over the affected area in a number of ways, with the most common being a heated pad, hot water bottle or heat plate (such as with a Rhia Nano).

When applied, heat encourages the expansion of blood vessels, which plays a pivotal part in relieving any tension or spasms that might be causing the migraine.

Additionally, heat therapy can disrupt the pain signals being sent to your brain, providing some temporary relief from the debilitating illness.

It is recommended to start at a lower, more moderate temperature and gradually increase it based on your comfort level.

You can leave the heat source on the affected area for approximately 15-20 minutes, however, it's important to remember that the effectiveness of heat therapy can vary from person to person, often working best when used in conjunction with other treatments.

Always use heat therapy safely, avoiding burns and scalds, and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment method - but more on that later on.

How Cold Therapy Helps Migraines

Cold therapy is another widely employed non-pharmaceutical method for alleviating migraine symptoms.

This organic therapy works by causing the blood vessels around the pain area to constrict, reducing the inflammation that can lead to severe headaches.

The cold sensation from the therapy not only numbs the painful area, providing immediate relief, but it may also interrupt the pain signal pathways to the brain, reducing the perception of pain.

To relieve migraine pain with cold therapy, place an ice pack, or a cold gel eye mask, on the affected area for about 15-20 minutes.

It's recommended to wrap the ice pack in a cloth to protect the skin from direct contact with the ice.

While cold therapy can be highly effective for some, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating it into your migraine management plan.

man suffering with a migraine

What to Check With Your Doctor Before Using Heat or Cold Therapy

As a proven method of organic pain relief for migraines, back pain and more, heat and cold therapy are two highly effective

However, whether you're suffering from a severe migraine or acute pain in your thighs, utilising heat or cold therapy can be dangerous if not used correctly or without proper consultation.

Before proceeding with either method, it's important to consult your doctor or GP - especially if you suffer from preexisting medical conditions or injuries, such as:

  • Circulatory problems
  • Skin conditions
  • Open wounds
  • Bleeding disorder
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Deceased sensation in the skin
  • Heart disease

These conditions may be exacerbated by heat or cold therapy, and therefore it is crucial to receive proper advice from a healthcare professional before incorporating these therapies into your routine.

Additionally, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should also consult with your doctor before using any form of pain relief treatment.

Extra Steps For Organic Migraine Pain Relief

If you're unable to benefit from heat or cold therapy due to the conditions mentioned above, or if you're looking for other effective organic pain relief methods to use alongside these therapies, there are a few extra steps that you can take to help alleviate migraine pain.

Get a Good Night's Sleep

The power of a good night's sleep on your health and well-being cannot be understated - especially when it comes to managing migraines.

By sticking to a consistent sleep schedule and ensuring that you are getting enough rest each night, you may be able to reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines.

Exercise Well

Starting and sticking to a consistent fitness routine can play a major part in migraine prevention.

By getting regular exercise, you can promote healthy blood flow and reduce muscle tension, which may be contributing to your migraines.

However, it's important to note that overexertion can also trigger migraines - so be sure to listen to your body and find a balance that works for you.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Following on from the last point, adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle can also help in managing migraines.

Avoiding processed foods, artificial sweeteners and other trigger foods, whilst incorporating plenty of water, fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your diet may help reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines.

Drink Plenty of Water

What's a healthy diet without enough water? Staying hydrated can do wonders for your overall health, including helping to prevent migraines.

Be sure to drink enough water throughout the day, and consider switching out sugary drinks or alcohol for water when you feel a migraine coming on.

Find a Calm Environment

As someone suffering from a migraine will know, light and noise can be major triggers for pain.

Therefore, it's important to find a calm environment where you can relax and reduce sensory stimulation when experiencing a migraine.

This may involve turning off all lights or wearing sunglasses indoors (especially if you want to pretend you're a Vogue model or a rockstar).

What's more, using earplugs or finding a quiet room to rest in can also be effective methods/

Discover Effective Ways To Manage Stress

Stress and anxiety can be major triggers for migraines. Therefore, finding ways to incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine can make a significant impact on your overall well-being.

This could include meditation, yoga, or simply setting aside some time each day to do something that brings you joy and helps you unwind.

Using The Nano For Organic Migraine Pain Relief

In conclusion, managing migraines can be a daunting task, but combining traditional healthcare advice with organic pain relief methods such as heat and cold therapy, can make a significant difference.

We may be biased, but we believe that the patented technology of a Rhia Nano is one of the most effective methods of providing organic migraine and headache pain relief.

With a compact design and a highly effective heated plate, you can take back control of your pain at any time, anywhere.

Incorporating heat therapy into your migraine management plan can provide immediate relief, while also promoting relaxation and increasing blood flow to the affected area.

By taking control of your health through proactive and holistic measures, you can significantly improve your quality of life, even in the face of frequent migraines.

Shop now and try the Rhia Nano for yourself!

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