How I Get Through a Migraine

If you’re someone who suffers from migraines, then you may want to read this post in case one of my tips happens to work for you too – and likewise, feel free to leave your own tips in case they work for me!


I really do believe that migraines are part of your genetics in a family sense. There are more women in my family affected by these things than just me, and this suggest a family link. However, it could just be a big coincidence. I first had a migraine when I was 11. I felt awful and had no idea what was going on – migraine is different feeling from a regular headache. A trip to the doctor confirmed what it was and that it was probably triggered by lights and he gave me a needle, I spewed on his carpet and felt instantly better.

Unfortunately I can’t afford tp and don’t always have time to visit the doctor for every migraine to get a needle to clear it up and the cure relies on me fixing it. Identifying triggers is a good way to keep a handle on them and I don’t get as many as I used to after discovering them all and avoiding those things as best as I can.
Triggers for me include: 

  • Lights. Not specifically bright ones, but more how the light catches my eye or bounces off surfaces. The neutral, muted colours and muted lights of big buildings like universities and hospitals can give me one for instance, as well as some projectors. Hard to totally avoid as you don’t know what building will have them before you go in.
  • Hormonal changes that occur naturally in your body. Impossible to avoid forever. 
  • Straight sugar. Long gone are the days when I can lick whizz fizz. Rich cake is also a no.
  • Stress.
  • Spasms in the eye that happen when tired. Uncontrollable.
  • Very loud noises. Outside of one’s control.
  • Any food with orange food colouring (I discovered it was the colouring and not flavouring by being able to eat orange tic tacs migraine free!)
  • Tension in neck and back
  • Tooth aches / pressure on teeth caused by a dodgy orthodontist. What a bi-atch.

So! To cope when I get one…

+ Because I don’t ingest caffeine on a day to day basis, drinking Coke helps. Luckily, I stopped drinking soft drink everyday a couple of months ago so I don’t get as many sugar ones. Only drink 1 cup though, you only need a little caffeine / sugar hit.
+ Water after the cup of Coke, and a few sips of a sports drink. For all those sports I do when I have a migraine of course.
+ Actually, sometimes depending on the type of migraine, doing something light active helps. A bit of cleaning or walking.
+ Sleep. Sleep actually doesn’t work for every kind.
+ Eat spaghetti. Yep! Carb it up. I don’t know why but a few pasta noodles with a bit of tomato helps. Or something a bit salty.
+ Ice pack on the forehead, top of the head or back of the neck.
+ A foot rub or / and a face massage.
+ Don’t let hair fall on your face but don’t tie it back tightly.
+ Watching television from a distance. This might sound nuts but actually, so long as it’s not a show with flashing lights, this provides a distraction from the pain and doesn’t require much work for the eyes. Do not read or look at the computer, though.
+ Light. Some people say pitch black is what they need but this strains my eyes unless I am sleeping. Sitting in the dark does not work – I need ample light to see so I don’t have to strain.
+ Dissolve-able aspirin.
+ Silence. Like some people need pitch blackness, I need silence. I unplug everything and just pray nobody yells. (The television at an okay volume is okay for some migraine forms ^ because there are different levels and kinds)
+ Lastly, if I can manage it, vomiting. Go ahead! Throw up! It will help! Unless you’re me and have a body that takes 3 hours to vomit. Seriously, a stomach flu for me goes on for so much longer than other people because my body insists on being at that pre-vomit state (you know just before you do it) for 2 – 5 hours. Not kidding. I hope the talk of vomit has not disgusted you.

The worst thing about migraines, though? People telling you how you should be avoiding them as if you’re giving one to yourself on purpose. I had somebody tell me once, “it’s a pretty good excuse because you can’t prove it.” she was someone who had taken it upon herself to be personally offended by my illness (illness is correct to describe this?) and to tell me how I should be dealing with them…. despite not suffering them. It’s times like this I wish I was the type of person who tells nosy people to ‘fuck off’. You can prove a migraine simply by looking at the person’s white face, unfocused eyes, wobbly balance, squinting, vomiting, falling down etc. and generally looking they want to die. You know. Anyway, thank you people who don’t suffer from migraines for trying to help but sometimes, you’re not helping at all – you’re just acting like we’re doing the wrong things on purpose and aren’t trying to fix them. I avoid all my triggers as best I can and no longer suffer migraines every 2 days like I used to, and I do it without medication, a feat I’d say.

May a migraine cure be found soon. Identify triggers, avoid them and get through them as best you can and if you live somewhere with good healthcare visit a free hospital for one of those needles or drips to stop bad ones in their tracks! Good luck, fellow sufferers!


18 thoughts on “How I Get Through a Migraine

  1. Interesting.
    The Coke thing helps me a lot as well…though i keep on sipping it after a few minutes and may end up drinking an entire bottle.
    The other thing which i do is i rub my hands and place them on my eyes. The heat helps…i dunno how but it does.
    Washing my hair helps too.
    And yes, no bright lights, i only eat fruits since i feel quite nauseous and i try to lie down and sleep for a bit.

    1. Oh I can go through half a bottle sometimes. It’s great that it helps.
      Yes! Washing my hair helps too! I didn’t think of that. I don’t know why it works but it does. Almost like a weight (of dirtiness? haha) lifting.

  2. Yes, vomiting is something of a reset button for me as well. It is also one of my biggest phobias. :/
    I get migraines the day after not taking good enough care of my blood sugar. I usually wake up with them, then have to go straight back to bed after a very high protein breakfast. Pretty much eliminates the plans for the first half of the day.

    Recently I have developed a tendency toward tension headaches, and sometimes they hurt just as bad as the migraines. My mom stopped one in it’s tracks last week by giving me a head and neck massage, thereby confirming it as a tension headache. grrr

    1. I hate vomiting myself.
      I had a tension migraine for 4 straight weeks at the start of this year, and had to see a doctor :/ Was definitely not good. You can feel the spot on your neck / back causing the pressure and tension when it happens. I had multiple spots of pressure / tension. Annoying!

  3. Mine are also genetic and hormonal. Many of my non-hormonal headaches were triggered by tension in my jaw and neck which I get from stress, bad posture or even plain old concentration. Regular visits to an osteopath have pretty much fixed these.

    A trigger you didn’t mention is also alcohol for me which is probably slightly related to dehydration.

    More often than not, my headache has to ride its course and nothing completely cures it unless I vomit or faint, both of which seem to act like a re-boot switch.

    These are the things I do to help alliviate the symptoms.

    + Painkillers – chose your own flavour and start before the pain escalates.
    + Caffine – usually in the form of coffee but I’ve heard Coke is also good.
    + Eat – I don’t let myself get hungry because nausea kicks in and I can’t swallow my painkillers. I can only eat bland foods like toast or porridge. I avoid chocolate and acidic foods, they seem to make it worse.
    + Water – drink lots of it.
    + Cold cloth over my eyes.

    I’m pleased to know I’m not alone with these. They are very hard to explain to people who don’t suffer from them. Thanks for the post.

  4. I always hate calling up work and telling them I have a migraine – i always think their going to think I’m lying. The only thing I can really do is sleep and trust me i can sleep for twenty hours straight with a migraine

    1. I always dreaded it, especially when my workmates were so annoyed by it! Their annoyance would cause more stress and so of course, more migraines. Terrible. Ah, 20 hours of sleep is definitely a cure for the worst migraines.

  5. Man, I feel ya. I find florescent lighting and the glare of sunlight off a windshield on a bright day (or similar) trigger mine. I’ll have to try some of your remedies. After a suggestion from a friend, I found that consuming more caffeine on a regular basis helps keep down the frequency (I had previously been avoiding it altogether).

    I’ve found that the triggers and remedies vary greatly from person to person.

    1. Florescent lights are awful aren’t they? I couldn’t work somewhere with lighting that triggers mine. I did actually and it was bad. Sick all the time.
      It’s true – remedies can be quite personal and individual.

  6. Le sigh, the dreaded, “your “disease” is invisible therefore not real,” or, “yeah, I get that too, this is exactly what you’re doing wrong.” Fuck people can be daft. Tis the same for depression, “obviously you’re not thinking about things the right way. Lighten up/find god/do xyz.” *insert blistering rage*. My lady gets migraines real bad (I do too, actually). Painkillers make her worse. Sometimes the only thing that works is time.

    On my end, carbs have the opposite effect to what you said. My stomach gets cranky with too many carbs. If my stomach’s cranky, then my head feels the pain, too. Gah.

    1. I hate the mentality that ‘invisible’ illnesses aren’t real. You can’t really see many illnesses besides stomach viruses, flu’s and fungal infections.
      I have read that pain killers make them worse if you take them every time you get one, which was what I had been doing. So now I only get them out when it’s really bad, but that’s no fun that your girlfriend can’t even use them for bad’uns.

      Just reading all the differences in how people get rid of theirs makes me understand why a definitive cure pill hasn’t been invented yet.

  7. I find an ice pack on the back of my neck coupled with a heating pad on my feet works wonders. Helps draw inflammation away from your head. Also, if you suffer from any type of allergies or sinusitis – neti pot, neti pot, neti pot. I wrote a post about how to prevent sinus infections and the neti pot is seriously the best thing ever.

    1. Hmm might have to try the heating pad on the feet… But generally to feel better I have to be icy cold. I had a migraine from a left over sinus infection this year so neti pot you say? I’ll look into this!

  8. Bloody terrible thing. Gosh I hate that “victim blaming” mentality.
    The good news is there is a trend that suggests they decrease with age. Wow! A good thing about getting older! 🙂

    1. That must be a factor in why mine have! Well now I have something to look forward to about getting older! haha 🙂

      Oh me too. People are full of misdirected anger it feels like.

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