Managing migraine can feel like a ton of work sometimes. You take your preventive medication or your supplements, you track your attacks so you can figure out what’s triggering them, and then you do your best to avoid those triggers. And even after all that, you can still end up with a headache when you least expect it.
Migraine attacks can happen anywhere, especially when you’re away from home and can’t control the environment you’re in. However, that doesn’t mean you have to worry about what’ll happen if you get a headache every time you go out.
Instead, try putting together an emergency kit filled with your go-to treatments. Toss the kit in your bag, car, desk at work, or wherever else makes sense, and you’ll be ready to go whenever you feel a headache coming on. Yes, this is one more thing to add to your to-do list, but if you’re looking for something simple you can do to make your life easier, a migraine care kit could be a good option for you.
What should be in a migraine kit?
There are tons of migraine relief products out there, so where do you even start? For a to-go kit, it can help to focus on small, lightweight items that make the biggest difference in getting your headaches under control, like:
Prescription or over-the-counter pain medication
Acute medication, which is the kind you take to relieve attacks in the moment, is more effective if you take it when you start to feel symptoms coming on, so it’s important to have your pills with you when you need them. Consult with a doctor if you’re interested in prescription medication, or keep your over-the-counter painkillers in your kit so you’re not stuck trying to run to the drugstore before your headache gets any worse.
You’ll probably need water to take those pills, not to mention it’s crucial to stay hydrated during a migraine attack since dehydration itself can cause headaches. And we know, this is a heavy item, but it’s the only one on the list, and we promise it’s worth the weight.
Speaking of hydration…
When you get dehydrated, it’s not just water your body’s missing. You also need electrolytes, which is a fancy word for minerals like sodium and potassium that help regulate key functions in your body. You can usually get the electrolytes you need from a healthy diet, but you do lose them throughout the day through bodily fluids like sweat.
Taking a supplement can help you get back on track faster. Hydration supplements usually come in powder form, so toss a packet into your kit now, and all you need to do is mix it into your water bottle when you need it.
Plus, the ingredients can have other benefits as well—Cove’s Oasis contains magnesium, which also has a calming effect. Some Cove patients swear by magnesium for getting more comfortable during an attack.
Some other things they swear by?
Instant hot and cold packs
Using hot and cold compresses to relieve pain is one of the most common home remedies for migraine. Whether you prefer heat, cold, or applying both to different parts of your body at the same time, keeping instant packs with you means you don’t have to worry about being near a microwave or freezer to get the relief you need.
Sunglasses or eye mask
About 85% to 90% of migraine sufferers experience “photophobia”—a.k.a. extreme sensitivity to light—before and during attacks, so eye protection is a must-have. The best options, if you can get them, are dark polarized sunglasses or special FL-41 migraine glasses.
Do you usually want total darkness when your headache hits? Add an eye mask to your kit as well.
Earplugs or headphones
Sensitivity to sound is also pretty common during migraine attacks, and a pair of earplugs is an easy solution. If you don’t need total silence and prefer listening to calming music during an attack, swap in headphones instead.
Essential oil roller
While there’s not a lot of evidence, some studies suggest essential oils can be a safe and effective method for treating migraine headaches. Peppermint, lavender, and chamomile, the ingredients in Cove’s Essential Oil Roll-On, can help with pain or nausea, and roll-on sticks are the easiest way to do aromatherapy on the go. Plus, if you’re sensitive to smells during attacks, using an essential oil roll-on under your nose can block strong smell triggers.
If even the scent of essential oils makes you nauseous, on the other hand, there’s one more go-to treatment you might want to try:
Ginger is a frequent home remedy for nausea, and it comes in all sorts of forms that are easy to stick in a bag, including capsules, chews, and crystallized ginger. If you’re somewhere with access to hot water, ginger tea is also a good choice.
Don’t like ginger? Cove Medical Director and clinical neurologist Dr. Sara Crystal has a tip: “Citrus can also help with nausea.”
Other migraine kit options
Everyone with migraine is different, and you know your body best. Here are a few other ideas for how you could customize your kit:
- If you’re not a big fan of pills, you might want to include a Cefaly® headband or CBD instead.
- If you tend to get headaches from hunger or need to take your acute medication with food, consider including a granola bar or a small bag of nuts.
- If nausea is a particular concern for you during attacks, you can also add in an acupressure wristband like a Sea-Band or even a sick bag. (It’s better to have one and not need it than the other way around.)
- If you get neck pain with your headaches, some people like to include a foam roller as part of their kit.
- And if you’re worried about ever needing to go to the E.R. when no one you know is around to help, keeping an emergency contact card on hand can’t hurt.
Ultimately, the best migraine kit is the one that works for you. As long as you remember to keep it with you, you’ll be more prepared for attacks when they happen. And if you need more help managing your migraine, consult with a Cove® doctor today.
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.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The supplements referenced are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Photo by Kristina Petrick on Unsplash