However, as someone who has struggled with chronic migraines for the past few years—about 15 times a month—I have been looking for any possible pain relief and prevention. From essential oils to Botox, cannabis to acupuncture and everything in between, I’ve tried them all. So why not add an ice or cold hat to my potential migraine treatment arsenal?
When I saw the ad for TheraICE Hot and Cold Therapy Headgear, I was immediately hooked; I just requested an ice roller for Christmas, so I was ready to try ice therapy for instant pain relief. And the hat itself also blocks light, another sensitive spot for migraine sufferers.
“If you use it before that time, it can cancel the attack and prevent insomnia.”—Andrew Blumenfeld, MD, director of the Southern California Headache Center.
How does an ice cap work to treat migraines?
That’s the big question, and I spoke with board-certified neurologist Andrew Blumenfeld, MD, director of the Southern California Headache Center, and the pioneering researcher behind Botox for treatment. migraine (who has treated migraines like Aly Raisman), to get his expert opinion on ice therapy for migraines.
Blumenfeld says that if you can tolerate it, an ice cap—regardless of the brand—can give you some relief. The secret to its success, he says, lies in timing. “One hour after a migraine,” Dr. Blumenfeld explains, “A patient can develop insomnia. This can manifest as pain all over the skull or scalp, making you not want anything to touch your head; no ponytail, no hairpin, no hat, and so on.”
So if you’ve reached this point, an iceberg can be uncomfortable and unhelpful. However, he said, “If you use it before that time mark, it can cancel the attack and prevent insomnia.”
This is because ice therapy itself, which Dr. Blumenfeld has seen his patients use in a variety of ways, can constrict dilated blood vessels, thereby relieving sharp pain and “acts almost like a nerve block,” with an anesthetic effect. he says.
This is how cold cap worked for me
With my doctor’s approval, I decided it was time to check it out. After receiving a sample for review, I waited until my next migraine hit to test it in person. Luckily for me (and unfortunately for my testing), it took a little longer because my preventative treatments increased the time between each attack. But when the next migraine hits, it’s a bout of sleepiness.
I wasn’t on prescription medication at the time, so my headache continued to progress without intervention. By the time I got home and received my prescription, it was too late for it to work. I tried taking a hot shower and taking 800 mg of ibuprofen but it didn’t work. So, for temporary stress relief, I slipped on the ice, and I was shocked by how soft and comfortable it was. It fits snugly but isn’t tight, with a gel-like, almost memory foam feel. While it comes directly from the tundra temperatures in my freezer, it’s not uncomfortably cold and provides a pleasantly cold temperature to the most painful areas.
While it’s too late in the game for this to completely stop a migraine for me, it feels impressively light and comfortable in its design.
Bonus: Caps are easy to put on
The hat stretches and slides over your head and there’s no lanyard involved, which is especially good when you can barely see during a migraine. It stays cold for about 20 minutes, and after that point it doubles as a great sleeping mask while I try to take a nap to relieve the pain. Plus: If heat therapy suits you better, the TheraICE Head Cap can also be heated in the microwave. (I don’t have one of those, so I skipped that part of the test.)
Migraine is a unique neurological disorder that manifests differently from person to person, so the best way to know if this will work for you is to try it for yourself. This hat is under $40, it’s a lots of less expensive than any other medical intervention I’ve paid for in the past two years. For starters, it’s not just me that’s impressed—there are about a hundred five-star reviews on their website.
With an iceberg, the only real risk is discomfort… it might be too cold for your liking or you could have insomnia that makes you not want anything to touch your head. Other than that, it’s a safe intervention to try, at a very reasonable price. Plus, the brand itself has a 30-day money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty. So if you don’t get relief you can get your cash back and continue your merry journey. All in all, if you suffer from migraines like I do, I recommend you give it a go.
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