Heat Therapy for Migraine Headaches

Heat Therapy for Migraine Headaches

Getting relief from a migraine can sometimes be a tricky proposition. It all depends on the individual, but simple home heat therapy is often extremely helpful in treating this common problem. Although heat may act as a trigger in some people who suffer from migraine attacks, for many others, it helps relax them - which is why this therapy tool is so popular. 

The earlier medical intervention is sought, the better off you will be. Most experts agree that if left alone for too long, migraines can develop into hypnic headaches, which most people would prefer to avoid altogether! For anyone considering adding heat to their treatment plan, purchase a heating pad or a hot shower at a minimum.

Annually, over three million Americans are afflicted with debilitating migraine headaches.

Characterized by an intense throbbing sensation or pulsing discomfort localized to one side of the cranium, this affliction is often accompanied by debilitating symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and heightened sensitivity to light and sound. The painful effects of migraines can persist for hours or days, sometimes making one's ability to perform even the most basic daily activities impossible.

What Causes a Migraine?

Migraines are a complex neurological condition characterized by intense, debilitating headaches, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. The exact cause of migraines is still under investigation, but current research suggests that both genetic and environmental factors play crucial roles in their development.

Genetic Factors: There is a significant hereditary component to migraines. Individuals with a family history of migraines are more likely to develop them, indicating that genetic predispositions are key contributors. Researchers are working to identify specific genes that influence migraine susceptibility, which could lead to more targeted treatments in the future.

Environmental Triggers: Several environmental factors can trigger migraine episodes. These include:

  • Hormonal Changes: Many women experience migraines that are linked to hormonal fluctuations, particularly those associated with the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or menopause.
  • Dietary Triggers: Certain foods and beverages can initiate migraines in some people. Common culprits include aged cheeses, processed foods, red wine, chocolate, and foods containing MSG or artificial sweeteners.
  • Stress: Both physical and emotional stress are frequently reported triggers. The stress response in the body can activate neural pathways that lead to migraine attacks.
  • Physical Factors: Physical overexertion, lack of sleep, and sometimes even sexual activity can provoke migraines.
  • Environmental Changes: Weather changes, bright lights, loud noises, strong smells, and altitude changes are also known to trigger migraines in sensitive individuals.
  • Medications: Certain medications can aggravate migraine symptoms, including some types of oral contraceptives and vasodilators.

Understanding and avoiding personal migraine triggers can be a crucial strategy for individuals prone to these headaches. Keeping a migraine diary can help identify specific triggers and patterns related to migraine occurrences, which is beneficial for managing this condition effectively.

As research continues, the hope is to uncover more definitive causes and develop increasingly effective treatments to help migraine sufferers lead more comfortable, less disruptive lives.

Heat Therapy for Migraine Relief

Heat therapy involves a lot of trial and error, but there is one thing that most people can agree on: warmth can be soothing during an attack. If you need clarification on whether you're a candidate for heat therapy, specialists recommend working with a small amount at home and seeing how your body reacts.

9.4/10 Our Score

Sacksy Thyme Hot therapy pad for Migraine Headaches

SacksyThyme's Hot Therapy Relief microwavable flaxseed heating pad provides quick and easy therapy for migraine headaches. The flaxseed filling ensures even heat distribution for targeted relief.


Heat therapy has not been scientifically proven to relieve migraine attacks, but it does seem to help those with tension headaches. Some migraine sufferers don't even have the benefit of knowing what a gentle head massage could do for their throbbing necks and shoulders or lower back

They often get a combination of headaches that include tension and possibly migraine attacks. Heat therapy can be extremely useful in easing aching muscles and knots in one's neck or back brought on by stress, tension, or overuse.

About 97% of people with migraines can develop a tension headache in addition to their pain, so heat therapy is generally accepted as effective. It is believed that muscle spasms trigger migraines; the theory behind heat therapy is that it relaxes the muscles and thus relieves any pain a patient may be feeling.

Heat therapy products provide an effective and natural pain relief solution for individuals who experience migraines. Applying such products helps relax muscles, reduces inflammation, and enhances blood flow to the treatment area.

The heat causes blood vessels to widen, thereby reducing muscle spasms and stimulating healthy blood circulation. This increased circulation facilitates natural pain relief by delivering essential nutrients such as oxygen and proteins to the affected area.

Types of Heat Therapy

Heat therapy might tickle your fancy. You could take a sauna or a hot bath. Some doctors recommend using herbal heating pads as part of their treatment plans. The point is heat therapy will help you. According to some experts, moist heat warms the tissues in your body more quickly because water transfers heat faster than air.

Heat therapy is most commonly used for conditions like:

  • Achy joints or Arthritis  
  • Stiff muscles.

Benefits of heat therapy for migraine headaches?

Heat therapy can be an effective way to relieve pain and discomfort associated with migraine headaches. This is because heat therapy can help to:

  1. Relax muscles: Muscle tension is a common trigger for migraine headaches. Heat therapy can help to relax muscles in the head, neck, and shoulders, which can help to reduce tension headaches and prevent migraines from developing.
  2. Reduce inflammation: Inflammation is also a contributing factor to migraine headaches. Heat therapy can help to reduce inflammation by increasing blood flow to the affected area. This can help bring nutrients and oxygen to the tissues, which can help repair the damage caused by inflammation.
  3. Improve blood flow: Heat therapy can also help to improve blood flow to the affected area. This can help to deliver pain-relieving chemicals to the brain and reduce the severity of the headache.
  4. Enhance blood circulation: Heat therapy also increases blood circulation within the muscles and nerves, thereby reducing pain and improving healing times.

How Does Heat Help Pain?

Heat stimulates nerves that operate below the surface of your skin and deliver signals to your brain. The benefit of this type of therapy is that it blocks pain signals from the injured area, but how exactly does it do that? Heat therapy increases blood flow to an affected area by up to 30%, which is believed to be one of the main ways to reduce pain. Increased blood flow supports healing by increasing oxygen and protein supplies; it also relaxes muscle tissue, making patients feel better overall.

Sometimes, it's nice to utilize a hot and cold compress simultaneously. With that said, switching on and off between heating or cooling different parts of your body as part of your treatment is completely normal. However, it's also worth remembering that sometimes people have specific preferences for one or the other; for some, it's far more relaxing to start with heat and then move on to something colder, like cold therapy!


Our Top Pick
Sacksy Thyme Cold Therapy pack for Migraine Headaches

    Sacksy Thyme Cold Therapy pack for Migraine Headaches

    The Sacksy Thyme Cold Therapy pack is an ideal choice for those dealing with migraines. This product is designed to ease the discomfort associated with migraines and offer relief. It is crafted using high-quality materials that are durable and comfortable. Simply place the pack in the freezer to activate the cold therapy, and it can be reused multiple times, making it a cost-effective option for migraine sufferers.

    Different Products for Heat Therapy

    • Microwavable Heating pads or moist heat pad
    • Hot packs
    • Heat lamps
    • Warm baths
    • Warm showers
    • Warm bath or shower
    • Heated, moist washcloths or towels
    • Hot water bottle
    • Heated pool
    • Heat wrap
    • Warm whirlpool or hot tub
    • Saunas

    Possible Side Effects of Heat Therapy

    • Burn can occur with heating pads or other devices that give off the heat if they remain in contact for an extended period.
    • Burn or discomfort to the skin if the product’s temperature is too high.

    It's important to realize that It is always a double-edged sword when it comes to talking about heat therapy. While cold therapy packs are usually applied easily, plenty of people don't like using them simply because they tend to cause frostbite in sensitive areas around the body. 

    When applying heat therapy, it's very important to know that its effects can be positive and negative: It will undoubtedly soothe your pain by promoting blood flow in your veins, but constant exposure can prove harmful if you aren't careful as well. Choosing between heat or cold is challenging because most alternatives on the market have corresponding disadvantages.

    No matter which alternative you prefer, one thing is sure: The best way to stay safe while using these aids to get rid of painful symptoms is by seeing things from an objective perspective first and foremost - not by letting yourself be persuaded!

    Who Shouldn't Use Heat Therapy for Migraine?

    Before starting it, you should discuss it with your doctor in therapy. If you are pregnant or nursing, you have heart disease, diabetes, skin problems, or circulatory conditions. Avoid hot tubs and spas.

    Stop applying heat immediately if you experience numbness in the area you're treating, and discuss the issue with your doctor. People with open wounds, reduced sensitivity in their skin, or clotting problems are at higher risk of experiencing side effects.

    Migraines are no laughing matter! More than 11 percent of the U.S. population suffers from this debilitating condition. Many are women (about 14.3 percent of women report suffering from migraines in contrast to 8 percent of men). 

    While the true causes of these headaches aren't yet known, there is good news about treatment: Many people who suffer from migraines can find relief through herbal remedies and lifestyle changes. Those who decide a more conventional approach is necessary may discover that medication offers a long-term solution since research suggests that people who have uncovered their triggers tend to experience fewer attacks (or none at all) over time when properly treated.

    You should always consult your doctor when finding the best way to relieve migraine pain and treat your attacks. These descriptions of specific medications and natural remedies are meant only to provide information - we make no promises or guarantees about the efficacy of any particular one.

    Back to blog

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.