The benefits of ice against migraines

Ice has many beneficial properties which, for at least a century now, have been used to treat pain and migraines. Let’s delve further into the topic and find out more.

Written Thursday, by Emanuele Mortarotti

Welcome back to the blog at Dispotech, your disposable excellence.

Today we will be discussing an excellent ally for your health – or rather, an element able to relieve pain in different situations. Its many properties may not be well known, or perhaps used in fields (such as medicine and sports) that we don’t deal with personally every day. We are talking about ice! Ice indeed has many beneficial properties which, for at least a century now, have been used to treat pain, migraines, etc.

Probably your mother or grandmother once recommended that you use a cool cloth or ice bag on the affected area to relieve headaches, but you might have raised your eyebrows thinking, “Old-fashioned remedies like this surely won’t work!” Nothing could be further from the truth: cold keeps migraines in check, no doubt about it! Amongst the certified medical remedies, doctors recommend using ice packs and gel packs for treating migraine symptoms.

The use of “cold therapy” for treating migraines and severe headaches, on the other hand, was first documented in 1849! Using cold compresses was also included in the do-it-yourself remedies most often used to treat migraines with aura - a special type of headache that also causes vision disorders, essentially of a neurological nature.

However, there are several studies and research that are exploring the effect and benefits of cold on headaches: while it is still unclear as to how the feeling of cool has healing and soothing effects, it is also true that not all people feel relief with it. One of the last clinical trials carried out in the United States showed that, out of 100 patients, around 75% said they were happy and satisfied with the results obtained from a "cold therapy" cycle.

Dr. Peterson from the United States, promoter of the above clinical trials, affirms: "Ice helps on vascular, neurological as well as endocrine levels. From a vascular perspective, the sensation of cold constricts the blood vessels (a process known as vasoconstriction), with an ensuing reduction in blood flow and a lessened sensation of pain. An ice pack can also reduce edemata and swelling. The neurological effects, on the other hand, regard the ability of cold to inhibit the sensation of pain, a process called analgesia. Cold reduces nerve conduction and immediately reduces pain, specifically because the nerves 'work' more slowly. As per the endocrine system, however, cold decreases metabolic and enzymatic activity: this results in a reduction in the oxygen required by local tissues. Lastly, it is also important to underline the importance of what is known as the placebo effect: using cold can affect the patient's ability to describe his or her pain subjectively”.

Migraine sufferers are often forced to use pain medication - which can help but also may not produce an effect. In consideration of these findings on the benefits of cold, the use of an ice bag or an ice pack could be a valid substitute for medicines: it is definitely worth discussing with your doctor!

What do you think of this article? Have you ever experienced the beneficial properties of ice? Let us know by contacting Dispotech!

Emanuele Mortarotti
Author Emanuele Mortarotti

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