News

< Back to Headache Fact Sheets

ice bag for headache

Hot and Cold Packs/Showers

Ice and heat can be used to lessen the pain of migraine and headaches. In general, most people living with migraine disease prefer cold packs. People who experience tension-type or muscle contraction headaches may prefer warm packs. It depends on the individual. The same cold or warm principles apply to showers.

Caution should be exercised in using warm packs or showers to ensure that they are not too hot. Overly hot showers or packs can sometimes cause the opposite effect desired by inducing muscle spasms and, in extreme cases, cause burns. Do not fall asleep with a heating pad on. Alternate ice for 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off.

Cold packs should be applied on the forehead and temples, warm packs on the neck and posterior part of the head.

Some over-the-counter products (Mentholatum Migraine Ice, Excedrin Cooling Pads) are available that apply a warm or cold feeling to the skin. These can be worn during a headache attack.

Hot and cold treatments can be used safely in addition to medications and other therapies recommended by your healthcare provider.

1Comment

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Subscribe to our Monthly e-Newsletter

Gain access to the most current migraine and headache information, prevention,

treatment, research, and news.