Ice cube melts away migraine


Q. I had to share my own experience of getting rid of a migraine by putting freezing cold on the roof of the mouth. I woke up with a migraine. Normally, I take sumatriptan and the pain goes away within an hour or so.

My blood pressure was already high, so I thought I’d try a small ice cube held on the roof of my mouth. Sumatriptan does raise my blood pressure.

Within about three minutes, the migraine was noticeably less intense. Within five minutes, I could not detect it anymore.

Since I do home monitoring of my blood pressure, I can document that my systolic and diastolic blood pressure also went down significantly within about half an hour. I don’t know if that was a side effect of getting rid of the migraine, but I sure am grateful.

A. We have heard from many readers that inducing “brain freeze” at the start of a migraine often can stop the headache. This can be accomplished with ice cream, a milkshake, a slush drink or an iced-coffee concoction like a Frappuccino.

There is some science to support this remedy. A few years ago, researchers from Harvard and NUI Galway reported that drinking ice water through a straw altered blood flow in the brain, creating a brain-freeze headache. The body’s response was to dilate blood vessels to rewarm the palate.

Researchers think that migraine may be triggered by changes in blood flow. In addition, studies have shown that migraines are related to temperature regulation. People with a specific type of TRPM8 cold receptor are more susceptible to migraines (BioRxiv, online, Jan. 19, 2018).

Q. I have restless leg syndrome and minor neuropathy in my left foot. I was taking ropinirole to treat it.

A lady in my church group suggested soap. I am a “Doubting Thomasina,” so I was skeptical.

However, I bought a pack of lavender soap and a mesh bag to put it in.

I missed the instructions on putting it under the bottom sheet, so I sat here in my recliner with soap between my foot and right leg. I brought the bag to bed with me and slept with it. WOW! I woke up from the best sleep I have gotten in a long time. My neuropathy is much less intense. I can’t speak for others, but it works for me. A six-pack of soap cost $1.97, and a mesh bag at $2 is super affordable.

A. Muscle cramps and restless leg syndrome (RLS) are both conditions involving the connections between muscles and nerves. We suspect that the fragrance in many soaps (limonene) stimulates specialized TRP channels. This effect causes the overactive nerves to relax.

Not everyone will benefit as you did, but many readers have found the soap remedy helpful.

Q. I’m trying your vinegar-honey-water recipe for arthritis and wonder how the vinegar reacts with my vitamins. Should I drink it at a different time from taking my vitamins?

A. The acidity of this remedy should not interfere with absorption of your vitamins, because your stomach is naturally high in acidity. In fact, if you take iron, this acidic beverage will improve absorption.

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