Dealing with migraines can be a difficult process. They can come on without warning, last for short or long amounts of time and cause debilitating pain.
Many people who suffer from migraines use a combination of treatments to curb the intense headaches, including medications, avoiding triggers and natural remedies.
Ice packs and other localized cold remedies are commonly used for headaches and migraines. Cold packs, cold showers and other cold-treatment products are often touted for their migraine relieving properties.
Can cold water immersion (taking an ice bath) help migraines?
How to use cold water immersion to combat migraine headaches
Based on what we know about the benefits of cold water, it makes sense while it could be a complementary approach for managing migraines and headaches.
Stress often triggers migraines, and cold water immersion is a proven way to quiet your mind. In fact, research shows that a single soak in water around 56.5 degrees Fahrenheit (13.6 degrees Celsius) significantly reduces tension.
Cold water immersion therapy is proven to stimulate the Vagus nerve, which then lowers heart rate and improves heart rate variability. These effects promote relaxation and reduce stress.
And if stress is one of the root causes of your migraines, managing your stress level could provide relief.
Poor sleep is another common migraine trigger that cold water immersion might be able to combat.
One study found that people who practiced cold water immersion had shorter sleep latency — meaning they fell asleep faster — than those who didn’t cold plunge.
Supporting athletic recovery
Research shows that following healthy lifestyle practices can significantly reduce both the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.
Staying active can help curb migraines, but post-workout muscle discomfort can make it hard to stick to a new exercise routine. Cold water immersion effectively relieves sore, tired muscles after a workout, so you can recover quickly for your next migraine-fighting exercise session.
Getting started with cold therapy
Anyone who is new to cold water immersion should consult with their doctor before starting and practice safe experimentation to see what your body can tolerate.
Done responsibly, getting started with cold therapy is simple and easy. Plus, it offers a range of physical and mental health benefits.
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Tired of body aches and pains? Try cold-water immersion to stimulate the Vagus Nerve in your body, and it may just take the pain away.