10 Migraine Hacks You Need to Know to Survive the Semester

As a busy student on the go, sometimes a migraine attack is simply inevitable. Late nights studying, part time jobs and maintaining a social life are quite often a recipe for a migraine disaster. It doesn’t help that many students (especially women) who are prone to them don’t really know what is happening or what they are experiencing until the early years of university. One of the reasons this occurs is because during adolescence and teenage years, migraines begin as bad headaches, then transition to full blown migraines as an adult. Throughout this process of trying to diagnose what is going on, migraines can get dismissed as period side effects, sinus issues or “just a headache” by doctors. 

Luckily, when I went to the Laurier Wellness Centre in third year, a doctor finally diagnosed me with migraines. As a hypochondriac this was a weight lifted off my shoulders knowing that these attacks weren’t caused by a brain tumour. The doctor told me that women are statistically twice as likely than men to get migraines, and that even though there is no cure, there are several ways to manage the pain. Everyone is different, but I have listed 10 migraine remedies from my own experiences which have helped me survive university.

1. Advil, Advil and more Advil

There are many different versions of heavy-duty Advil and even antidepressants that doctors prescribe to try and ease migraine symptoms; however, none of them have worked for me. I find taking two Advil extra strengths has been the most effective.

2. Caffeine

A lot of people believe caffeine is bad for headaches; however, it is quite the opposite. Caffeine has vasoconstrictive properties which causes blood vessels to narrow and can help with pain relief. Plus, who doesn’t need an excuse to order a triple caramel macchiato?

3. Combine the Two

Taking Advil extra strength with caffeine has been most effective in making migraines stay away once an attack starts.

4. Sleep

Sleeping, or even taking a 20-minute nap, can drastically reduce symptoms. 

5. Dim the lights

Needless to say, this goes hand in hand with sleeping. If you are in a situation where you can't take a nap, reducing the light and noise in a room can make a significant improvement. 

6. Let your hair down

As cute as ponytails are, they put a significant amount of pressure on your head which won’t help with a migraine attack. It is best just to leave your hair down.

7. Eat and Drink

Sometimes a migraine trigger is derived from not eating enough food. If you feel one coming on make sure to eat and drink plenty of water. 

8. Do nothing

As difficult as this can be during university, reducing stress and trying to think about literally nothing has been pretty helpful. 

9. Blue Light Glasses

As students we end up staring at a computer for countless hours, which means taking in hours of blue light. Purchasing glasses that block blue light can eliminate this migraine trigger.

10. Time

Even though it feels like migraines can last for years, they will eventually go away on their own. Giving it time and taking it easy until it is gone is the only remedy that will work for everyone!