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Using an ice pack for migraine, or ice for migraine in general, never entered my relief routine for years. Frankly, I discovered using ice for migraine relief by accident – which I can’t help but feel has been the case for many other folks as well.
My Journey With Using Ice Packs For Migraine Attacks
Migraine attacks have brought on many sensations for me but heat on my head has never been one of them. However, from the early age of 18, I’ve always known how helpful ice and frozen eye masks were for puffy eyes, dark circles, exhaustion, and sinus issues. At some point when dealing with sore and tired eyes with a frozen eye mask, I realized how glorious the cooling relief of ice felt on my forehead when dealing with migraine symptoms. From there, using a cold eye mask (like this one), became standard in aiding me during a migraine attack both mild and intense.
How Ice Packs Provide Migraine Relief
So how exactly does ice let alone a head ice pack work to help with migraine pain?
Ice assists in many ways, but mostly, ice packs have a numbing effect (due to the constricting blood vessels) which can lessen the sensation of pain. Another reason for this, is that the feeling of pain is overshadowed by the feeling of the cold. Not only does the cold help with inflammation, but it slows down the transmission of pain messaging by way of our nerves. Using ice packs for cold therapy is nothing new and is a common approach to how we may treat different injuries and body aches.
Multiple studies like this one in the Hawaii Journal Medicine and Public Health in 2013 have proven that cold therapy specifically for migraine can potentially help prevent or stop a migraine attack from worsening. Research from the study confirmed that applying a frozen neck wrap at the beginning of a migraine headache, targeting the carotid arteries at the neck, majorly lowered the amount of pain shared by the participants with migraine headaches.
Coincidentally, the job of the carotid arteries in the neck is to supply essential blood and oxygen to the brain and head. Clearly at this point, I could go deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of migraine origins, but it is a significant reminder that migraine pain does not always simply start with our head.
While the word ‘preventative’ can mean a lot in the migraine world, I find cold therapy to be an effective preventive measure for myself. Do I think using an ice pack everyday for 20 minutes will stop me from getting migraine attacks? Certainly not. But cold therapy is a nice avenue for general self-care and is preventative for me, especially when used in tandem with other forms of self care, for my mild migraine attacks.
MigraFreeze Migraine & Headache Relief Hat
There are many types of ice packs for migraine that vary in size and shape. When one of my favorite companies that specialize in migraine relief products, Migrastil, asked if I wanted to try out their newest head ice pack product, I was super excited!
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Migrastil, pretty much as soon as I launched Dealing With Migraine. They are a family-owned company in the U.S., where they produce all their supplements, topical, and drop products – which by the way are vegan and cruelty-free. Lastly, I wanted to share how much warmth, innovation, and enthusiasm they have for the migraine community. They have a bunch of other interesting, helpful products that I can’t wait to share with you all in the future!
The hat is intended to provide cold therapy which helps with pain from migraine symptoms and various types of headaches (as mentioned earlier), while also treating light sensitivity with extra material to cover your eyes. The hat is one size ‘fits most,’ comes with removable, gel inserts, as well as a zippered bag to store in the freezer.
The gel inserts were specifically created to stay cold for a long time but still remain soft and flexible enough to feel comfortable on your head and easy to move around enough within the hat material.
My Experience With Using The MigraFreeze Hat
What I loved:
- In looking to buy a head ice pack of sorts, usually material is not a priority, but with this hat the material is incredibly cozy and soft! The texture is similar to a sports jersey but better. I harp on this design element so much because it’s such a fantastic contrast with other ice packs in general (let alone for migraine). It serves this ability to sit securely on my head, without feeling like my head is being squeezed or pushed too hard when my head is feeling its most sensitive.
- The compartments of the hat with the gel inserts were designed to go all around the head. This means sides, back, forehead, and top of the head. This was important to me because the latter element can often be missing from a head ice pack product. Also, until you actually wear the hat do you realize how much extra relief it provides. I share this because the hat was able to spread cold therapy to areas I’ve never gotten to before, creating a completely different type of ice pack for migraine relief experience.
- I loved how easy, comfortable, and moldable it was to use the velcro to secure the bottom of the hat! As someone with a lot of hair on my head, having my hair get stuck in velcro is so aggravating when dealing with a migraine attack – so I appreciate this hat not doing the same to me.
- Lastly, I thought Migrastil did an awesome job creating a balance in the design. By making the gel inserts easy enough to move around and manipulate in the hat, there is enough structure to keep the inserts secure in the hat so you do not have to worry about anything falling out of place while in use.
What I would change:
- Not super important but I would prefer a better zipper or alternatively a drawstring closure on the storage bag. I think this would help make the storage bag a bit more flexible when trying to close it.
- While I was really surprised with how much cold therapy I felt, even with my hair under the hat, I think it would be great if there was a hole in the center of the hat to pull out a high ponytail for people with long hair like me! This would essentially just take out the hassle of even thinking about where to put my hair.
Is The MigraFreeze Hat A Good Head Ice Pack Option?
For me, buying this MigraFreeze Hat is a no brainer.
As far as ice packs that cover the whole head, this is a fantastic option.
If you are like me and get migraine attacks that last long and sometimes stay with you for more than one day, having multiple ice packs is SUPER important! If I had room for a personal freezer, just for ice packs for migraine relief, I definitely would. Having various ice packs for our head, face, and neck is key in using ice to treat migraine attacks while they are happening, right at their onset, and even as a preventative self-care method. As I continue to learn more about migraine in general and how to deal with my migraine, I know that having more than one ice pack for a super long, exhausting attack is a saving grace.
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What about you?
Do you currently use ice packs for migraine? Do you have a favorite product or more than one you like to rotate too?
Want to give the MigraFreeze hat a try?
You can get a 15% off discount by using my code – dealingwithmigraines15
Let me know in the comments!