What Are Home Remedies to Get Rid of a Migraine Fast?

Migraine headache
The best way to relieve migraines is to try to stop a migraine attack before it happens. As soon as you feel a migraine coming on, you should try home remedies such as ice, heat, breathing techniques, getting fresh air, staying hydrated, and getting to a darkened room to avoid light (a migraine trigger).

A migraine headache is not simply a severe type of headache, but rather a neurological disorder with different symptoms and different treatments compared to other types of headache disorders. Migraines tend to cause severe head pain along with sensitivity to light, sound, or smells.

The best way to help get rid of a migraine fast is to try to intercept a migraine attack before it occurs. When you feel a migraine coming on, act fast and try the following home remedies in the chart below.

In addition to home treatments to get rid of migraines fast, treatment for migraine headaches includes: 

Home Remedies for Migraines Chart
Home Remedy Examples Directions
  • Apply ice packs to the back of the neck and the forehead
  • In a pinch, if not at home, a restaurant or hotel can usually get a bag of ice (use a towel or washcloth between the ice and skin; never place ice directly on skin) or a cold can of soda
  • Warm up your hands and feet by running them under warm water to get blood flowing
  • Inhale deeply and slowly
  • Get to a space with fresh air if possible
  • Dehydration is a common migraine trigger
  • Try to drink at least 16 ounces (2 cups) of water or sports beverages such as Gatorade
  • Avoid soda, coffee, and tea, which may have caffeine and sodium, which can also be migraine triggers
Seek darkness
  • Go into a dark room or cover your eyes
  • Sensitivity to light is a common migraine symptom and light can worsen symptoms 

What Are Symptoms of Migraines?

Symptoms of migraines can vary from person to person and from migraine to migraine. Symptoms of migraine often have five phases: 

  • Prodrome: warnings before a migraine
    • Change in mood
    • Subtle changes in sensations such as an unusual taste or smell
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle tension 
  • Aura: a visual disturbance that precedes the headache phase
    • Blind spots (scotomas)
    • Geometric patterns or flashing, colorful lights
    • Loss of vision on one side (hemianopsia)
  • Headache
    • Usually occurs on one side of the head, but may occur on both sides
    • This phase may last 4-72 hours
    • Throbbing pain 
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Sensitivity to light (photophobia) and sound (phonophobia)
  • Headache termination
    • Even without treatment, the pain usually goes away with sleep
  • Postdrome
    • Other signs may linger after the pain has gone away
    • Inability to eat
    • Problems with concentration
    • Fatigue

What Causes Migraines?

The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but genetics and environment play a role. 

Migraine headaches may be triggered by: 

How Are Migraines Diagnosed?

A doctor will take a history and perform a physical exam along with a complete neurological exam to diagnose migraines.  

Tests may be used to help rule out other causes for the symptoms such as: