Complementary Therapies and Coping Tools

Though we’re lucky there are two FDA-approved acute Migraine treatment medications for children now, the options are still quite limited. Most parents still need to utilize complementary remedies and coping strategies to help their children who live with Migraine disease.

Although no one wants to see his or her child dealing with a Migraine attack, there are lots of techniques readily available to make your little one more comfortable and ease his or her suffering.

Some good non-medication coping options to explore for children with Migraines include:

Cold Therapy for Migraines

Cold packs placed on a Migraineur’s head can be very soothing. Small cold packs with character or animal designs are great options for younger kids. Keep regular cold packs on hand for older kids.

Acupuncture for Migraine

Acupuncture is minimally invasive and has no major side effects or risks. However, it is important to select a well-trained professional.

Managing nausea:

    A small recent research study has shown that acupressure wristbands, such as Sea-Bands, can help manage nausea.

  • Lemon-lime or ginger ale soda and saltine crackers can help settle the stomach.
  • Peppermint candies can help, too, but be sure not to give them to younger children who are still prone to choking.
  • Many adults find ginger or peppermint teas soothing. If your kids aren’t into the idea of a warm beverage, try brewing the tea and serving it cold over ice.

Shielding the Sun & Light

If you’re at home, make sure you pull the blinds and curtains closed in your child’s bedroom to provide a cool, dark room.

When you’re out and about or can’t control the environment, kid-sized sunglasses and sleeping masks can be lifesavers for child Migraineurs and their parents.

Minimizing Noise for Migraines

Try to keep your child’s environment quiet. Tuck your child away in his or her bedroom alone, if at all possible. Also, consider keeping child-size ear plugs on hand.

Controlling the Temperature

Most Migraineurs prefer to ride out a Migraine attack in a cold room, so try to keep things as cool as possible for your little one.


Utilizing high-quality products that contain soothing scents like lavender, peppermint and tangerine can be incredibly comforting for Migraineurs and are safe for children. Badger Headache Soother and Lather Clear Head Balancing Balm are two great options. If you choose to use pure essential oils for aromatherapy, be aware that, with the exception of lavender, oils should never be applied to the skin undiluted because they can irritate and burn. Dilute them in a carrier oil first. Fractionated coconut oil is a good choice because it has no smell of its own, it’s light weight, and will wash out if gotten on clothes or linens.

Hydration & Nutrition for Migraines

It’s important to get fluids into your child Migraineur to prevent dehydration if at all possible. In addition to water, consider mixing fruit juice with water for variety. Electrolyte drinks might seem like a good option, but they often contain Migraine triggers, so it’s important to be thoughtful in deciding whether they’re appropriate for your child Migraineur.

Something simple like chicken broth and some crackers can be nutritious and comforting if your child is able to keep any food down.


Allais, Gianni; Rola

ndo, Sara; Castagnoli Gabellari, Ilaria; Burzio, Chiara; Airola, Gisella; Borgogno, Paola; Schiapparelli, Paola; Allais, Rita; and Benedetto, Chiara. “Acupressure in the control of Migraine-associated nausea.”
Neurological Sciences 2012; 33(1):207-210. DOI 10.1007/s10072-012-1069-y.

Diana Lee is an attorney, Migraine patient advocate and educator and Migraineur. She blogs at and She runs a bimonthly Migraine Chat that provides support and information for Migraine patients and a monthly Headache and Migraine Disease Blog Carnival for other headache disorders bloggers.

© Diana Lee, 2013

Last updated February 9, 2013.

Reviewed for accuracy by the American Migraine Foundation’s subject matter experts, headache specialists and medical advisers with deep knowledge and training in headache medicine. Click here to read about our editorial board members.