5 Drug-Free Ways to Ease Migraines

I’ve been living inside a migraine for a long time.

Flashing lights, people call them “auras”, muddy my vision at all times.

But, for years, doctors wouldn’t help me. I’m not sure why. Maybe when you have a bipolar disorder/panic disorder co-diagnosis, it’s a bit off-putting to run into a doctor’s office screaming “CAN’T YOU FIX MY STABBING PAINS?”

In the absence of a diagnosis, I termed the pain “Chaos Pain.” Chaos pain is not a scientifically determined condition but, you can use the term liberally if you’re suffering without medical aid.

A few years ago, I was determined to be legally blind. My head pain was diagnosed “migraine.” I wear glasses now, which helps. Ibuprofin helps too. But, if you don’t have access to those things, or you prefer not to use them, here are some headache cures I invented in my time of chaos pain.

1. Laugh

It won’t be easy but try lying on your stomach, pressing your head into a pillow, and remembering the most embarrassing you’ve witnessed recently. For example, I think of my mother explaining to the neighbour that she loves the smell of her compost bin because it reminds her of my dog’s poop which leads her to remembering nice long walks with my dog. The look on my neighbour’s face makes me laugh, every time. Or, morning meetings with my dad (I work for him) which he takes while walking on the treadmill. Thinking of those treadmill farting sounds and the ten people who proceed with the meeting as if nothing is happening, makes me laugh, every time.

2. Lie on the Ground

This tip comes courtesy of my many years of panic attacks. Headaches often come from stress and stress is much easier to manage if you are closer to the ground. So, get cozy on the ground and cushion cushion cushion cushion, under your knees, under your head, or, if you’re in the fetal position, under your side.

3. Hang Out With a Dog

Assuming you aren’t allergic, either get a dog or get a friend who has a dog. My dog has saved my life. And all the stress that comes with it (the training, the expenses, the “who can take care of him while I go to work” strategies) it’s all been extremely worth it because he LOVES me and it’s essential. When I am in pain, he paws at my back. I mean….COME on!

4. Design the Lighting

Plan ahead. Make a space for yourself that is headache friendly which means NO POTLIGHTS, NO FLOURESCENTS. If you spend a lot of time at work or in school, tell your colleagues that you need to wear sunglasses or you need to sit in a dark room. Don’t be shy about that because no matter how much advil you take, the light will come for you. And the light does not back down.

5. Anticipate and Accept

If you get regular headaches, pay attention to any patterns that may help you plan around them. For example, I always feel sick in the afternoon and so I wake up at 3 AM to write. Sounds nuts? But, I have to lie down in the afternoon no matter when I wake up. So, in order to keep from hating myself and in order to stay on top of my goals, I wake up hella early. It might not work for you. Find your thing.

BONUS

I’m not an expert on how to do this but I have done my own research and I recommend you do yours. Caffeine and sugar aren’t saints. I don’t think I need to tell you that. But, just a reminder.

Stay sane by forgiving yourself. Drink water. And, once a day, remember how strange and rare it is to be alive.

And, get a dog.

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