When you’re diagnosed with migraine, it’s always there, lurking in the background. Whether you’re at work, out with your friends, on a date night or relaxing at home an attack can strike anywhere. The best way to keep migraine from worsening or becoming a runaway attack is to treat it early, at the very first sign of symptoms. As this new year begins, consider making it a priority to be prepared in any circumstance by creating a migraine attack relief kit. Then tuck it away in your purse or car so you’re always ready to take action. Admin of Migraine Strong are often asked what we reach for in our kits. I’ll start by sharing what you’ll find in my emergency kit and throw in a few items I use at home as well. I’m diagnosed with Vestibular Migraine and Meniere’s Disease so you’ll find dizzy rescue items in my relief kit in addition to migraine relief products.
First Gather Your Container
Start by finding a bag, box, tin or pouch that you love. For me the container is important. It should be large enough to fill not only with treatments, but also the items you find the most comforting during an attack. Yet small enough to be tucked away. Migraine attacks are not fun to say the least! So why not make them a little less terrible by reaching for something that makes you happy and brings you comfort? Drawstring pouches are my personal favorite. I use a pretty drawstring sack that I received as a freebie when I purchased new make-up last year. Amazon also carries some great options like these here and here. Now let’s talk about ideas for items to fill your migraine relief kit with.
Some of my favorite products are items I use to help me prevent an attack before it begins. Lets start with light. Spending too much time in front of light emitting from electronic devices and exposure to flashing light is my migraine nemesis. This can be anything from driving through dappled light, emergency vehicles passing by or water droplets running down my windshield during a rainstorm. I’m not sure if it’s just a vestibular migraine issue or if it’s true for most with migraine but, moving light in general is just tough. So to help, I keep outdoor glasses from Theraspecs in my bag along with Migraine Shields for extended screen time. I chose their smallest size but I’d recommend choosing a size medium for most women and a large for men. This inexpensive set from Amazon looks lovely too. A blackout (sleeping) mask is another great item to tuck into your at home migraine relief kit. They’re available in heated and iced versions as well. I received mine in a subscription box, but this one with a removable cooling insert looks delightful.
I often say that we have migraine disease always, not just when we are experiencing an attack. So having items on hand to reach for when you come across an unexpected trigger is important. As someone with vestibular migraine and meniere’s disease my ears are super sensitive to loud noise. I don’t want to miss out on activities with my guy or my friends so rather than always asking them to attend quiet activities, I tuck earplugs away in my migraine relief kit and take them out as needed. These are helpful when you come across unexpected noise triggers too. Flare audio earplugs are my go to. I bought the mini size and they work perfectly for my small ear canals. I also like Mack’s soft foam earplugs and these water proof ear plugs for the shower. Earplanes are another great ear protection to tuck into your kit for protection when flying.
When my ears are screaming loud with tinnitus, I reach for supplements to increase blood flow in the small capillaries in my inner ear and to help turn the volume down on tinnitus. I like Ginko Biloba and Vinpocetine for this. Pure Encapulations makes a supplement that combines both of these ingredients called Cognitive Factors. Look for this in our supplement dispensary for 15% off. I use Lindberg Bioflavonoids to reduce the feeling of pressure in my ears and love them.
Nose Protection- Otherwise Known as Essential Oils
I’ve developed a new love for essential oils. I’ve never been into them pre-diagnosis but now I have those little bottles and rollers not only in my migraine relief kit, but all over the house. I can no longer wear synthetic fragrances or burn candles in the house so I’ve found some beautiful mixes to use as personal fragrance. Others I use as home fresheners in a diffuser instead of those triggering candles.
In addition to home freshening and fragrance, essential oils help relieve some of my symptoms like neck tension, nausea and head pain. And if that’s not enough, I also use them to help mask exposure to triggering smells. Seriously, where have these little rollers been my whole life? Migrasoothe is great because a swipe under the nose works to mask those smells and it’s mild enough to not trigger an attack. Forces of Nature Migraine roller ball is another favorite to roll on my temples to help relieve pain. You can get 15% off your own roller ball by entering code NATUREMS19 at checkout on their website. I enjoy the Migraine Stick and straight peppermint oil and SO many more as well.
Anti Nausea Treatments
For on the go anti nausea I often reach for peppermint. The menthol in peppermint helps to relax tight tummy muscles and the cooling effect provides nausea relief for many. Just smelling peppermint like in this motion sickness stick can provide a similar calm. I keep peppermint oil in my migraine relief kit along with my favorite peppermint mints made locally here in Florida by Angel Mints. When I’m home and an attack hits I reach for peppermint tea. Another effective herb that I always carry in my bag is ginger. Oh how we love ginger! I like Gin Gins ginger candies as well as Gaia Herbs Ginger Supreme capsules or Pure Encapsulations ginger capsules. When stubborn nausea happens I use prescription Reglan and keep it handy in my kit. For many more strategies to relieve nausea check out my nausea relief blog loaded with tips here.
Vertigo and Dizziness Treatment
The first thing I reach for is my prescription benzo. You can try over the counter meclizine, but it never provided relief for me. In vestibular support groups you’ll read many posts from members that feel benzos should be avoided because they keep your brain from compensating for dizziness. There is some truth to that statement. Benzos are vestibular suppressants so a high dose over an extended period of time could possibly have negative effects for some, but for most of us they are extremely helpful in treating dizziness and kicking out vertigo attacks. Dr Hain (A leading US vestibular migraine specialist) says that he has never had a single patient fail to compensate from taking a benzo. My personal doctor feels it’s cruel to make vestibular patients go without them.
That said addiction is an issue when it comes to benzos. So they should be used short term (which I’ve seen defined as one to three months) and low dose to avoid addiction issues. I personally used a very low dose benzo for a couple of months at vestibular migraine onset to help dampen my daily dizziness and I had no trouble compensating. I have a prescription for the lowest dose of valium (2mg) and I cut it into quarters and take just a quarter when dizziness kicks in. This very tiny dose works for me. These days I never need it daily. I take it only occasionally as a rescue med so you will find valium in my migraine relief kit. Not all benzos are recommended for vestibular treatment and they’re also not safe for every vestibular disorder. Learn more about benzos for vestibular treatment here.
Many VMers also use acupressure dizzy relief like Seabands. These little magical wrist bracelets really do help to relieve the nausea that holds hands with dizziness. When vertigo strikes, I can’t stand to see the spinning so I like to keep a blackout mask on hand. If it’s mild dizziness easing the light with migraine glasses helps me. Pro-tip…if you can afford to, buy multiples of necessary strategies that work for you. I have things tucked away in a basket at home, in my desk drawer at work, under my car seat etc. so I always have one where I need it.
I also use supplements to help dampen dizziness. If I’m home I reach for Life Flo magnesium chloride flakes and soak my feet in them using a warming bubbly foot spa for about an hour. They always help to kick out dizziness that ramps up due to over stimulation during the day. When I’m away from home I use Pure Encapsulations magnesium capsules and Life Flo magnesium lotion. I use their body wash too! Magnesium is naturally calming and when I’m dizzy, I can’t get enough of it. This is one the strategy that helps me so much that I really hope you try it. Just know all forms of magnesium are not the same. They have varying absorption rates and some are energizing while others are calming. Learn more about magnesium in our wonderful article by Danielle Aberman.
Cold and Hot Packs
This is another item that I have multiple items to choose from because sometimes I like heat and other times I like cold to help relieve my head pain and sore neck. I have a migraine hat for times I need ice all over my head but, my most reached for items are the ones that can be warmed or cooled like this beautiful Perfection Collection eye pillow, Huggaroo warming wrap and these little gel pads for smaller pain spots. Mine are Starry Eyed gel pads from Anthropologie. I really love ice rollers too. If you find cold relieving, I strongly suggest trying one like this.
A water bottle should be at the very top of your list when you leave the house. First because staying adequately hydrated is an effective migraine prevention. Second because you just never know when you might need to take your migraine medication. So get after finding a bottle you love, carry it with you like it’s your job! I love to add a splash of RW Knutsen Tart Cherry Juice in my water bottle for a bit of flavor. As an added bonus Tart Cherry juice is said to help ease pain and it’s great with fizzy water as a homemade head safe soda too. You know by now I love pretty products that make me happy. My cup came from Etsy, but let’s be real, a plastic water bottle is fine to tuck away too. Fiji is my favorite.
I’m a sucker for muscle rubs. I mean seriously, this is another item that I have a hundred versions of all over the house. My neck gets so tight while I’m having an attack so I like to use a variety of rubs on my neck, shoulders and temples to help relax my muscles. I also use rollers to ease allodynia (pain spots) around my face and head. There are loads of rubs and rollers out there but my most reached for item’s are Bio Freeze, Green Goo pain relief, J.R. Watkins pain spray and Tiger Balm with rollers like these. When stubborn pain hangs around I use prescription strength Voltaren Gel which my doctor describes as topical Advil.
I keep a variety of medications nearby. These include abortive prescription medications like triptans and naproxen. My dizzy rescue med, valium and meds to help ease symptoms like methazolamide for ear pressure relief. You’ll also find a load of supplements in my pill box as well. I always have magnesium, ginger and ear relief supplements like lemon bio-flavanoids. If you try lemon bio-flavanoids they MUST be the brand linked which is not an affiliate link.
When I need additional calming or nausea relief I use Lord Jones body lotion. It smells slightly like citrus and mint and provides a calming and soothing effect when you rub it on. It helps when my muscles feel tight and when I feel low level pain before an impending attack too. It’s always worth trying especially if it can cut down on the amount of pain medication I take each month. I use High CBD Pain and Wellness Formula.
Note- Any medical advice is based on my own personal experience in finding control over my once daily symptoms. Please consult your doctor before trying any new treatments.
I’d love to know what you carry in your migraine relief kit.
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