Patient Blogs | Migraine
Need a Migraine Hack? Try a Strong Cup of Coffee and More Tricks
photo of woman drinking morning coffee

I love a good hack. In fact, I remember when “hack” meant to break into a computer. So, to know that the term has taken on a more delicate meaning is pretty nice.

I find my hacks in all kinds of places – online, from friends and family, and even by accident. To me, the “stumble upon” hack is just as exciting as the ones I’ve researched and considered tried and true.

If you have regular migraines as I do, you’ll need a hack or two. Here are a few of my favorites that often work right on the spot.

  • A strong cup of coffee: I started this early in my migraine journey. A tip passed down by my mother, this one continues to work if I find myself out without any migraine medicine. “Drink a strong cup of coffee,” she would say. That was fine by me since I’ve been a coffee fan since I was young enough to hold a cup. Years after first hearing this hack, I noticed caffeine listed as a key ingredient in migraine medicine. As they say: “Mother knows best.”
  • A dark, cool room: When a migraine is raging, I often feel flush and hot, and the light around me literally hurts. If I can get to a cool, dark room, often that will calm my symptoms for a bit. I remember being at a work conference in my 20s. I felt a migraine coming on, and rather than participate in the mixer, I dashed to my hotel room for a quick nap. That did the job.
  • A massage:  Sometimes this is an actual in-the-spa massage, and sometimes it’s massaging my own head and neck, or asking my hubby to do the honors. I know migraines impact the blood vessels in the head, so I’ve found relief in being able to get some blood flow to that area. Some light stretching and neck rolls have helped from time to time as well.  
  • A little bit of yoga: One morning I woke up with a terrible migraine. I didn’t want to take any medicine and preferred to try a more natural approach. I found a morning yoga session on YouTube, and 20 minutes later, not only was my migraine gone, but I was totally relaxed and ready to start my day.
  • Peppermint oil: I read about peppermint for headaches for years before actually trying it. Sometimes mint can be too intense for me, so I was skeptical. When I finally gave it a try, I was quite impressed. I dabbed some on my temples (be sure not to get it in your eyes) and my wrists, and my migraine began to disappear. I did have to reapply every hour or so. Now, I travel with a small roll-on bottle of peppermint oil in case of emergencies.
  • Magnesium at bedtime: I started adding magnesium powder to my water at night for its calming properties. The extra benefit is that it’s done wonders for my migraines. I drink the solution almost every night, and I’ve had a noticeable decrease in my migraines. Magnesium is known to have other health benefits too!
  • A quick bite to eat: My migraines are often triggered by hunger. If I’ve been running all day and haven’t really had anything nourishing to eat, a migraine comes knocking. In those moments, I’m reminded that everything else needs to stop and I need to feed myself. Sometimes, a healthy snack will do. Other times, I need to sit and enjoy a good meal.  
  • Just stop: There’s a verse that talks about being a child and doing what children do. It then goes on to say, when you became an adult, you put away childish things. For me, migraine maturity was about acceptance and boundaries. I used to work through, push through, and suffer through a migraine. Now, when I feel a migraine entering the scene, I will just call it. That sometimes means calling out sick right away or declining a social event. I don’t push to the limit anymore. I’ll attend to my migraine as if it were a baby in need of the most tender care. I really nurture myself in those moments, and I’m incredibly grateful to myself.

As long as migraines are around, I’m sure there will be more hacks to try!

Tap into a community of fellow migraineurs on Facebook. Learn, share, connect in our Migraine Support Community.




Photo Credit: Grace Cary / Moment via Getty Images

WebMD Patient Blog © 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Michele Jordan

Michele Jordan

Diagnosed since 1992

Michele Jordan, a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, was diagnosed with migraine in 1992. Her writing background includes magazine and online journalism, grant writing, and now screenwriting. She is passionate about both physical and mental health and is the author of the book, Thanking Your Way to Joy: Daily Gratitude Journal. When not writing, Michele enjoys traveling with her husband, trying new, healthy recipes, and cuddling beagles. Her latest passion includes exploring and discussing issues around equity in housing, health care, and the justice system.

Latest Blog Posts From Michele Jordan

Going to the ER With Migraine

Going to the ER With Migraine

The first time I went to the ER for a migraine, I was equally terrified and embarrassed ....

Read more
My Migraine Diagnosis Was a Family Affair

My Migraine Diagnosis Was a Family Affair

In some families, and perhaps some cultures, you’re informally diagnosed with a condition before you’re actually diagnosed with it ....

Read more