If you suffer with occasional or chronic headaches, you may have tried various techniques to relieve the pain. One option is to use a compress, which can be helpful when your headache comes on quickly, or your medication is not working well. Many migraineurs (people who suffer from migraine headaches) relieve the pain of a migraine with the judicious application of heat or cold. This type of pain abatement is particularly popular with people trying to minimize or avoid prescription medication use, especially among pediatric patients and their families.
Here are the right ways for using hot and cold compress for headaches and migranes:
Dry warmth: Place a protective layer of fabric between a warm compress and the skin. Heating pads and hot water bottles can be used on larger surfaces needing heat like neck and back of the head.
Moist warmth: Towels or washcloths can be soaked in warm water, wrung out, and placed on the area. Moist warmth is more effective in relieving pain than dry warmth.
Ice pack: Make an ice pack by wrapping ice in a small towel or cloth, or by filling a plastic bag with ice. Make sure that you keep a cloth or bandage between the cold compress and the patient’s skin (if you apply a homemade compress such as a bag of ice directly to the skin, it can cause frostbite.) Remove the cold compress after 20 minutes to prevent the skin from becoming frostbitten.
Cold towels: This is another homemade method you can use. Wet a towel and then wring it out so that it’s just damp. Place it in a plastic bag and then leave it in the freezer for 15 minutes or repeatedly re-soak the towel in cold water to keep it cool or cold.