How to Treat a Migraine at Home

Medically reviewed by Dr. Phil Mitchell MD, MS on August 12th, 2019

woman with migraine

If you suffer from frequent migraines, you’re not alone. According to the American Migraine Foundation, more than 37 million Americans suffer from migraines each year. That’s a big chunk of the population, and given that the World Health Organization has placed migraines among the top ten most disabling medical illnesses in the world, it’s easy to see that migraines are a big problem. This is especially true because there’s no cure, only treatment methods to minimize symptoms. Chronic migraine sufferers often see their doctors for regular treatment methods, such as prescription medication, but many individuals who experience migraines less frequently are left to fend for themselves when a migraine strikes. Regardless of how often you experience migraines, we’ve rounded up a list of the most tried-and-true ways to alleviate your migraine symptoms from home. Read on to help find relief. 

Find a Dark, Quiet Space to Rest

The first thing you should do when you feel a migraine coming on? Find a dark, quiet space to rest. If you’re home or can get home easily, draw the curtains in your bedroom, turn the air conditioning down, and lie down in bed with an eye cover on. If you can’t get home, try to find a quiet corner somewhere to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Sensitivity to light and sound is one of the most common migraine symptoms, so finding a way to minimize your sensory experience can make a world of a difference. 

Cool Down

Studies have shown that cold therapy can prove effective in minimizing migraine symptoms, so head to the freezer and grab an ice pack as soon as you feel a headache coming on. Place the ice pack directly on your forehead to ease acute pain, or position it around your neck and shoulders to ease tension.

Acupressure

Some people who experience frequent migraines have reported that acupressure works wonders to ease the pain. Here’s what to do: Once you locate a pressure point, simply press down on it firmly. Here are the most common pressure points to target:

  • The space between your index finger and thumb. With the index finger and thumb of your right hand, squeeze the spot between your index finger and thumb on your left hand firmly. Hold for five minutes or so. Repeat on the other hand. 
  • The arc above your ear. With one finger, trace the outline of your ear against your head. That imaginary line is your pressure point. Place your fingertips along the line, applying gentle pressure to relieve pain. Repeat on the other ear. 
  • On the underside of your wrist, just beneath your thumb. With your palm facing upward, locate the spot beneath your thumb where your wrist meets your hand and place firm pressure there. Repeat on the other hand. 

Try to Relax

Stress plays a big role when it comes to migraines, so it’s essential to do everything you can to remove yourself from a stressful situation when a migraine is coming on. Perhaps you’re ruminating on a work issue while relaxing at home, or maybe an argument with your partner has left you fuming—regardless of the stressor, it can lead to a migraine, and eliminating it can help relieve symptoms. Do what feels relaxing to you to calm down. Maybe take a bubble bath, go for a walk, or bring a good book to bed and curl up under the covers with a cup of tea.

Drink Water

Even mild dehydration can lead to a migraine, so drinking water right away can help when you feel symptoms of a migraine coming on (even if you’re not thirsty). If you don’t feel like drinking water, you could also eat foods high in water content, like watermelon or yogurt, to rehydrate yourself. Sports drinks like Gatorade are also effective since their sodium levels help to replenish your electrolytes, but be wary of their sugar content. It’s best to make a homemade electrolyte drink instead.

Eat Ginger

There’s rarely evidence that herbal remedies work to cure what they claim, but when it comes to ginger and migraines, that’s not the case. Ginger has been proven effective in treating migraine symptoms at the same level as prescription sumatriptan medication. It also has fewer side effects than sumatriptan, making it a preferable alternative both for those who try to avoid migraine medication and those who don’t experience migraines frequently enough to seek prescription medication. 

Prevent the Next Migraine

The best thing you can do for yourself if you experience frequent migraines is to take as many steps as possible to prevent a migraine ahead of time. That includes getting plenty of rest, exercising regularly, pinpointing your food and beverage triggers so you can avoid them, and getting enough magnesium in your diet. If you experience frequent migraines, you could also talk to your doctor about the possibility of being prescribed preventive medication.

Seek In-Home Treatment from DispatchHealth

When your migraine symptoms are atypical and so severe that you think you need an emergency medical service, turn to DispatchHealth. We provide in-home treatment for migraines so you can avoid all the hazards of traveling with a migraine, including the bright fluorescent lights of an emergency room or urgent care clinic and loud noises from traffic. Our team will assess your situation and determine the appropriate therapy to treat your migraine. We have a pharmacy of medications that can be administered through an injection, by mouth, or intravenously if required, all of which is safe and effective to do in the comfort of your home. Our services cost a fraction a trip to the ER and about the same as an urgent care clinic, and we accept most major forms of health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. We also offer an affordable flat rate for uninsured patients, and can be there within a few hours.

Migraines can be debilitating. Don’t go it alone. Request care online, via phone, or through our app to receive the quick migraine treatment you need.

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About the Author
DispatchHealth Staff The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.