Options for Non-Medicinal Migraine Relief

by Teri Robert Patient Advocate

These options can't abort a Migraine, but they can help with some of the symptoms or, at the very least, make us more comfortable.


Research on Migraine and precision tinted lenses revealed that this FL-41 tint filters the wave lenghts of light Migraineurs are most sentisitve to. Glasses like these help relieve both photphobia and the increase in Migraine pain that light can cause. The two leading companies in this area are TheraSpecs and AxonOptics.

A dark room

Even with tinted glasses, one of the most important Migraine relievers is a dark room. Heavy draperies can help, and darkening window shades. Another tip: avoid bright white walls, furnishings and linens because even soft light can bounce off of them and will seem brighter. Prepare this room to be your haven during a Migraine. For more on this, see Make Your Home Friendly During a Migraine.

Cold therapy

Many people find that cold gel packs help a bit with the pain of Migraine, or at least make them more comfortable. Today, there are countless options. The old-fashioned ice bag is still around in a variety of sizes and colors. There are reusable gel packs of various sizes, and even little gel packs. Some small gel packs weigh very little, so they're a great option for cold that weighs little.

Heat therapy

For some people, heat is more comfortable than cold in helping relieve Migraine pain. This seems to be especially true for the neck pain that can be associated with Migraine. Old-fashioned hot water bottles, gel packs, and a variety of other items are available. Some, such as the lavendar bag and teddy bear pictured here, also add lavendar aromatherapy to the heat.

Hot tea

It's amazing how much a cup of hot tea can help. Black tea has caffeine, and although caffeine can be a trigger for some, it can help during a Migraine. Herbal teas such as chamomile can aid greatly with relaxation and perhaps get you to sleep. Peppermint tea has been used through the ages to help relieve nausea. The heat from these teas can also be helpful if we're having facial or sinus pain from our Migraines.


Some Migraineurs find that massage is helpful during a Migraine. Shoulder massage or gentle massage of the temples seem to be the two best forms during a Migraine attack. Some people report that this can help reduce the neck or head pain a bit, and it's definitely relaxing and comforting. Massage isn't for everyone though. For some of us, that touch makes the pain worse.

Peppermint aromatherapy

Peppermint essential oil diluted in a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil, is helpful in relieving nausea for many. An easy method is to prepare it in a roller ball bottle so it doesn't spill. It can also be used in a diffuser. As a safety measure, I recommend a simple electric diffuser, such as the Aroma Stone, rather than the diffusers that use candles.


OK. So pets can't relieve the symptoms of our Migraines, but they're so comforting! The comfort of our pets can help relieve the anxiety we may feel during a Migraine and help us relax while we wait for medications to work and for the Migraine to end.

Teri Robert
Meet Our Writer
Teri Robert

Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation's Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society.