Best remedy for a migraine

Yoga, Ice Packs, Supplements, and More

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on February 22, 2022

Put an ice pack on your forehead, scalp, or neck to get pain relief. Experts aren't sure exactly why it works, but reducing the flow of blood might be part of it. You can also try a frozen gel pack or a wash cloth that's been rinsed in cold water.

You don't need a prescription to get painkillers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. You can also buy migraine remedies that have a combination of pain relievers.

It's an ingredient in coffee and some other foods and drinks, and it may give you some mild relief. It could also help your body absorb some migraine drugs faster. But go easy. You can get dependent on your caffeine jolt, which can lead to withdrawal symptoms like fatigue and more headaches.

Bright light and loud noises can make your headache worse. So find a spot away from the action and pull down the shades when you've got a migraine. It can help speed up your recovery.

Don't try it when you're in the middle of a migraine attack, because it can make you hurt more. But when you feel well, a regular workout can prevent headaches. It makes your body release endorphins, chemicals that fight pain. It also eases stress and helps you sleep better.

You find this mineral in dark-green veggies, whole grains, and nuts. It won't help while you're having a migraine, but some studies show it could prevent one. You can also take it in pill form, but always check with your doctor before you take supplements.

Get some regular shut-eye to help stave off migraines. Too little -- or too much -- can trigger headaches and lower your threshold for pain. Aim for 7 to 8 hours each night, and try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

Exercise that gets your heart pumping can prevent migraines, but it can also be a headache trigger for some people. This activity, though, with its slower movements, is a safe alternative. Research shows that regular yoga sessions cut the number of attacks you get and make them less intense when they do happen.

It's also called riboflavin, and you can find it in milk, cheese, fish, and chicken. You can also take it as a pill. Studies show it may help you prevent migraines.

Your migraines are sometimes set off by the food you eat or the conditions around you. Find out what brings on your pain and avoid it. Some common trouble spots on the menu are red wine, aged cheese, and cured meats. Bright lights, staying at a high altitude, and strong odors can also be issues.

People have used this plant for years to treat pain. Does it work to prevent migraines? When researchers looked at all the evidence, they found that taking the extract reduced the number and intensity of headaches for some people.


1) Thinkstock

2) Thinkstock

3) Thinkstock

4) Thinkstock

5) Getty

6) Thinkstock

7) Thinkstock

8) Getty

9) Thinkstock

10) Getty

11) Thinkstock



Sprouse-Blum, A. Hawaii Journal of Medicine and Public Health, July 2013.

Association of Migraine Disorders.

American Headache Society Committee for Education.

Burstein, R. Journal of Neuroscience, April 29, 2015.

Gelfand, A. Pediatric Neurology, October 2012.

Sasannejad, P. European Neurology, published online April 17, 2012.

Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center.

S. Holland, Neurology, April 24, 2012.

Kisan, R. International Journal of Yoga, July-Dec. 2014.

Chaibi, A. Journal of Headache Pain, published online Feb. 5, 2011.

National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Pradalier, A. Cephalalgia, October 2001.

© 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info

Ways to Get Rid of a Headache Quickly

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on August 17, 2022

In this Article

  • Try a Cold Pack
  • Use a Heating Pad or Hot Compress
  • Ease Pressure on Your Scalp or Head
  • Dim the Lights
  • Try Not to Chew
  • Hydrate
  • Get Some Caffeine
  • Practice Relaxation
  • Try Massage
  • Take Some Ginger
  • Use Meds in Moderation
  • When to Call Your Doctor

Headaches happen. The good news is there are several simple things you can do to ease the pain without a trip to the doctor. Try these tips and get to feeling better fast.

Try a Cold Pack

If you have a migraine, place a cold pack on your forehead. Ice cubes wrapped in a towel, a bag of frozen vegetables, or even a cold shower may ease the pain. Keep the compress on your head for 15 minutes, and then take a break for 15 minutes.

Use a Heating Pad or Hot Compress

If you have a tension headache, place a heating pad on your neck or the back of your head. If you have a sinus headache, hold a warm cloth to the area that hurts. A warm shower might also do the trick.

Ease Pressure on Your Scalp or Head

If your ponytail is too tight, it could cause a headache. These "external compression headaches" can also be brought on by wearing a hat, headband, or even swimming goggles that are too tight.

Dim the Lights

Bright or flickering light, even from your computer screen, can cause migraine headaches. If you’re prone to them, cover your windows with blackout curtains during the day. Wear sunglasses outdoors. You might also add anti-glare screens to your computer and use daylight-spectrum fluorescent bulbs in your light fixtures.

Try Not to Chew

Chewing gum can hurt not just your jaw but your head. The same is true for chewing your fingernails, lips, the inside of your cheeks, or handy objects like pens. Avoid crunchy and sticky foods, and make sure you take small bites. If you grind your teeth at night, ask your dentist about a mouth guard. This may curb your early-morning headaches.


Drink plenty of liquids. Dehydration can cause a headache or make one worse.

Get Some Caffeine

Have some tea, coffee, or something with a little caffeine in it. If you get it early enough after the pain starts, it could ease your headache pain. It can also help over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen work better. Just don’t drink too much because caffeine withdrawal can cause its own type of headache.

Practice Relaxation

Whether it’s stretches, yoga, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation, learning how to chill out when you’re in the middle of a headache can help with the pain. You might talk to your doctor about physical therapy if you have muscle spasms in your neck.

Try Massage

You can do it yourself. A few minutes massaging your forehead, neck, and temples can help ease a tension headache, which may result from stress. Or apply gentle, rotating pressure to the painful area.

Take Some Ginger

A small recent study found that taking ginger, in addition to regular over-the-counter pain meds, eased pain for people in the ER with migraines. Another found that it worked almost as well as prescription migraine meds. You can try a supplement or brew some tea.

Use Meds in Moderation

Pharmacy shelves are stocked with pain relievers for all kinds of headaches. To get the most benefit with the least risk, follow the directions on the label and these guidelines:

  • Choose liquid over pills. Your body absorbs it faster.
  • Avoid ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) if you have heart failure or kidney failure.
  • Do not give aspirin to a child under age 18.
  • Take painkillers as soon as you start to hurt. You’ll probably beat it with a smaller dose than if you wait.
  • If you get sick to your stomach when you get a headache, ask your doctor what might help.
  • Ask your doctor what to take to avoid a rebound headache, which is pain that sets in after a few days of pain relievers.

And be sure to talk to your doctor about what headache symptoms you should not treat at home.

When to Call Your Doctor

Get medical care right away for:

  • A headache that follows a head injury
  • A headache along with dizziness, speech problems, confusion, or other neurological symptoms
  • A severe headache that comes on suddenly
  • A headache that gets worse even after you take pain medications



About migraine, sumatriptan and antimigraine: figures and facts

Migraine - from fr. migraine (the same as the Greek "hemicrania") - "half of the skull."

Associations : "Neurotic aristocrats" of the 19th century, wringing their thin fingers and harassing their own husbands with moans and complaints of "excruciating migraines."

Literary images: a classic migraine attack in Bulgakov's Pilate, yearning for: “ Yes, no doubt! It's her, her again, the invincible, terrible disease of hemicrania, which hurts half the head. From it there is no means, there is no salvation. I'll try not to move my head."


Migraine is one of the most common types of headache known to mankind. Currently, migraine is registered in 3-10%, and according to some authors, in 30% of the world's population. The peak incidence is noted in people aged 25 to 34 years (in 90% of people suffering from migraine, the first attack occurs before the age of 40 years). Migraines are 2-3 times more common in women than in men.


Migraine is characterized by a clear set of symptoms (so clear that a general practitioner, based on clinical assessment of symptoms alone, accurately diagnoses migraine in 95% of cases), which includes: moderate to severe throbbing headache (usually unilateral), nausea and vomiting, intolerance to light (photophobia) and sound (phonophobia), at least 5 seizures in history that meet the listed criteria, each lasting from 4 to 72 hours (average 8-12 hours).

Up to 20% of migraine patients may experience unnatural sensations before the onset of an attack: visual disturbances, sensory disturbances, or any local neurological symptoms. Such states are called "aura". Migraine without aura occurs in approximately 80% of all migraine attacks.


The most important characteristic of migraine is that it has a paroxysmal (paroxysmal) character. Well-defined attacks are separated by headache-free intervals.

A headache that occurs all the time or every day is not a migraine.

Therefore, if you (your friends, relatives, acquaintances) do not experience the above symptoms, you can safely not read this article - for a headache of a non-migraine nature, the drug, which will be discussed below , is ineffective.


Despite a long period of intense research into the mechanisms of migraine, its pathophysiology has not been fully investigated. Nevertheless, some links of pathogenesis have been studied quite well, and they should be briefly discussed.

A migraine attack is thought to develop when some trigger leads to dilation of the meningeal vessels . This stimulates the sensory nerve endings surrounding the vessels. Activated nerve fibers, in turn, promote the release of neuropeptides in the walls of blood vessels.

It is these neuropeptides that cause further (secondary) vasodilation. Then the plasma leaks from the vessels and local edema of the vascular wall occurs - a local inflammatory reaction develops.

And now, having sufficient knowledge of the pathogenetic foundations of a migraine attack, we can perhaps begin treatment.


All patients diagnosed with migraine should receive treatment aimed at the rapid relief of a developing attack. For this purpose, as a rule, they use: analgesics (acetylsalicylic acid, paracetamol), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, naproxen) and ergotamine. The effectiveness of treatment can be improved by using all of these drugs together with metoclopramide or other antiemetics.

The disadvantage of most of the drugs currently used to relieve migraine attacks is that their effectiveness is rarely constant for all patients and in all attacks, and many of them cause serious side effects.

Due to high efficacy and relative safety, drugs of the triptan group are currently widely prescribed for the relief of migraine attacks. The first of these drugs was sumatriptan (Pavlenko S.S., 2000).


Sumatriptan is a specific selective agonist of 5HT 1 serotonin receptors.

Interacting with the specified subtype of receptors, sumatriptan:

- reduces the dilated blood vessels of the brain (which inhibits the process of excitation of sensory nerves around the vessels and breaks the vicious circle of migraine pain).

- prevents the release of neuropeptides, stopping further expansion of cerebral vessels, which also helps to stop a migraine attack.

As a result:

1. The clinical effect - complete relief of an attack or a significant decrease in the severity of headache - occurs on average 30 minutes after taking the drug inside.

2. The drug is highly effective on average in 80% of patients.

3. The drug is well tolerated: most of the side effects are short-lived and usually disappear on their own.


We should dwell on a very important (and somewhat dramatic) part of the article and state with regret: the wholesale price of the original drug containing sumatriptan (in terms of one 50 mg tablet) is: UAH 23–26

And it is impossible not to quote:

“High prices for original drugs, reflecting the burden of costs for research and development, marketing research, promotion, advertising in the process of creating and bringing new drugs to the market, are a hidden catalyst for population differentiation in terms of opportunity maintaining health "(Krasnokutsky A., Lagunova A. "Pharmaeconomics" Vol. 1, p. 249).

At present, the first domestic drug based on sumatriptan has appeared on the pharmaceutical market of Ukraine — ANTIMIGREN manufactured by FF Health (table).


Factory price



Dose, mg

Price, UAH


“FF “Health”



* According to the information system "Drugs", the average wholesale price of 1 tablet of the original drug in the first quarter of 2001 is 24. 31 UAH, 1 tablet of ANTIMIGRENE - 7.27 UAH.


“The concept of social stability, professed by the absolute majority of governments, requires compliance with at least the external attributes of the doctrine of equal opportunities, which puts the use of generic drugs at the forefront of budget medicine.”

In addition, the price competition created by generic drugs has an extremely constructive effect on the development of the pharmaceutical market as a whole.” (Krasnokutsky A., Lagunova A. "Pharmaeconomics" Vol. 1, p. 249).


1. ANTIMIGREN (FF "Health") exhibits high analgesic activity, vasoconstrictor effect, improves cerebral hemodynamics, does not cause intracerebral steal.

2. ANTIMIGRENE stops a migraine attack even in its extended phase.

ANTIMIGREN is well tolerated by patients and does not cause pathological changes in laboratory tests during clinical examination of patients.

(Studies were conducted on the basis of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy of the NFAU, Kharkov).


Getting closer to the final, for some reason it is difficult to overcome the vague feeling of a happy end (although for someone 7 hryvnias - what a happy end there is).

But no, let's not dwell on the positive emotions caused by the good news: yes, there is an effective, safe, affordable drug ANTIMIGREN - but this is not the main thing.

The main thing that “FF “Health” would like to wish you is to never experience migraine attacks, whether they are with or without aura.


1. Not every headache is a migraine. It is necessary to clearly differentiate the symptoms of migraine from other conditions accompanied by a headache.

2. In the light of modern ideas about the development of a migraine attack, the key role belongs primarily to vasodilation of the meningeal vessels.

3. Drugs that cause vasoconstriction of dilated meningeal vessels effectively stop a migraine attack. One of these drugs is the selective agonist of 5HT 1 -serotonin receptors - sumatriptan.

4. Currently, along with the original drug, the first domestic generic drug of sumatriptan, ANTIMIGREN, manufactured by the Zdorovye Pharmaceutical Company, has appeared on the Ukrainian pharmaceutical market.

5. The dose of sumatriptan in ANTIMIGRENE is 100 mg (in the reference drug - 50 mg). The cost of a single dose of ANTIMIGRENE is almost 7 times lower than that of the original drug.

Materials provided by
Pharmaceutical Company Zdorovye

Medicines for acute treatment of migraine in children and adolescents

Relevance and review question

Migraine is a painful and debilitating disorder that often occurs in children (under 12 years of age) and adolescents (12 to 17 years of age). Common symptoms during a migraine attack include headache, nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light and sound. There are many treatments for migraine, of which paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen), ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs, and triptans are the most common. Not all triptan medicines are approved for use in children and adolescents, and this information [on authorization/approval for use] varies from country to country.

Study profile

In our review, we looked at 27 randomized controlled trials of drugs versus placebo to find out which treatments were effective in relieving pain two hours after treatment. We also wanted to know what side effects these treatments might cause. A total of 7,630 children received medication in the studies. The evidence is current to February 2016. Each study included 13 to 888 participants. Their average age was 12.9years with fluctuations from 8.2 to 14.7 years. Nineteen studies were funded by the drug manufacturer.

Main results

Ibuprofen has been shown to be effective in the treatment of migraine in children, but the evidence is limited to only two small clinical trials. Ibuprofen is an affordable and inexpensive drug, and therefore can be an excellent choice for the treatment of migraine. Paracetamol has not been shown to be effective in relieving pain in children, but we found only one small study. Triptans are a type of medication designed specifically for the treatment of migraine, and they often have a greater effect on pain relief in children and adolescents. Triptans studied in children include rizatriptan and sumatriptan, while almotriptan, eletriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, sumatriptan and zolmitriptan have been studied in adolescents. The combination of sumatriptan and naproxen sodium is also effective in the treatment of migraine in adolescents. In general, there is a risk that triptan drugs may cause unwanted side effects such as taste disturbance, nasal symptoms, dizziness, tiredness/fatigue, loss of energy, nausea or vomiting.

Learn more