Written by Marina Medved. You can find her @parentingwithmigraine
Becoming a parent is supposed to be one of the most joyous occasions in life, but it’s what propelled me into developing chronic migraine. It was a long journey of two pregnancies, daily migraine attacks, multiple doctors, and an array of failed treatments until I finally started to make progress, and eventually, broke the daily migraine cycle.
Although I’ve accepted that migraine will likely remain part of my life, I feel more in control of this condition. One of the ways I exercise this control is by always trying different medications, strategies, and products to determine what helps me manage migraine.
Here are the essentials I rely on:
1. Heating Pad or Neck Wrap
Did you know heat therapy can help relieve migraine symptoms during an attack?
Neck pain is a common symptom of migraine that some people also experience during the prodrome or postdrome phase. Using heat therapy for neck pain can be very soothing during a migraine attack as it relaxes tense muscles.
Not only do I suffer from chronic neck pain, but I also experience severe neck pain during migraine attacks. My essential products for heat therapy are this microwaveable neck wrap by Huggaroo and this electric heating pad by Pure Enrichment.
The Huggaroo weighted neck wrap (unscented version) is microwavable and cordless. As parents, we are always on the move whether we feel great or not. Wearing a cordless neck wrap has been a game-changer and I often wear it while making breakfast, cleaning up the house, and playing pretend with the kids in the playroom.
The Pure Enrichment electric heating pad is soft and has a contoured design that wraps around the neck and shoulders. It has a magnetic neck closure to keep the pad neatly on your neck and shoulders without falling off. It has an auto shut-off timer that both my husband and my migraine brain appreciate. I use it almost nightly before bed, so luckily it’s machine washable.
2. Ginger Supplements
One of the things I love about using supplements for migraine is that I do not experience side effects from them and they allow me to continue taking care of my kids.
I currently take ginger supplements for preventive and acute migraine treatment. The ginger root has strong anti-inflammatory properties, settles the stomach, helps with nausea, and studies show that ginger powder supplements can also decrease migraine symptoms. I take these ginger supplements at the first sign of an attack. You can also try ginger candies or ginger tea.
Sensitivity to sound is a common migraine trigger for many, but it is also a symptom of a migraine attack. Keeping earplugs near you at home or on the go can help in those situations when noise becomes a little too much.
Since kids are natural noise makers, I suggest wearing earplugs at home even when you do not have a migraine attack. Don’t worry, you’d be surprised how much you can still hear while wearing earplugs. However, the screaming and crying isn’t as jarring or startling. Plus, you can of course take them out when you’re engaging in quiet activities together.
4. Kids Tablet
Not all my tools for success as a parent with migraine are for me - some are for my kids! One of the top essential products I recommend is a tablet for kids. Some screen time can give you respite during a migraine attack or an opportunity for self-care. These tablets have gotten me through some severe migraine attacks (and long car rides).
5. Quiet Toys For Kids
Having a basket of quiet activities to take out during an attack has proven to be a lifesaver. Here are some of my favorite quiet activities for kids that they can do next to you:
- Reusable sticker pads have stickers that the kids can apply on the included scenery pads, fridge, or windows.
- No Mess Coloring Pads includes small activity books with a magic invisible ink marker. As you color the pages with one marker, the pad reveals patterns and vibrant colors.
- Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Sets include coloring books of lots of different themes and invisible markers of all the colors of the rainbow. The markers are only visible on the special coloring books. Feel free to use them on your couch or that living room rug!
- Doodle Mats are so fun and come in different colors and themes. They are reusable and can be used again once they dry!
6. TruEarth laundry strips
According to the American Headache Society, sensitivity to smell is frequently described in 95% of migraine patients and is known to trigger or worsen attacks. Specific odors known to trigger attacks include perfumes, cigarette smoke, motor vehicle exhaust, and some cleaning products and foods. Laundry, however, is part of life.
I love these fragrance-free TruEarth laundry strips. They come in strips so there is no liquid and no mess! They’re convenient and the fragrance-free option is delightful because I do not have a chemical smell in my laundry room or on my clothes.
7. Healthy snacks
During a migraine attack, it is not always easy to take care of kids, cook, or if we are being honest, function. Having healthy snacks ready for your kids if they get hungry is essential. Have a designated tray or bowl that they can take out of a pantry or fridge when you get an attack.
Apples, bananas, cheese sticks, pretzels, yogurt, and granola bars. My kids’ recent favorite is GoodBe yogurt and granola bars.
8. Be Kool soft gel sheets
These Be Kool soft gel sheets provide cooling relief during migraine attacks. I love using them during the day when I’m homeschooling, driving to a doctor’s appointment, or when I go to bed. I also use them before bed when I wait for my medication to work as it helps me to fall asleep. They are non-medicated, convenient, portable, have no side effects, and remove easily and painlessly.
Parenting with migraine has been my reality now for six years. Over the years, I have learned a lot about migraine, parenting, and myself. This experience has made me stronger and taught me how to get through days that seem impossible. I hope that the insights and products above help you get through your days with less pain, more hope, and the comfort of knowing that you’re not alone.
Need more help with your shopping list? Check out our guide to the best products to have on hand when your treatment isn't working.
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.