Ice Bag On Head: How to Relieve Headaches and Migraines

Does an ice bag on your head really help to take away the pain of a headache? Or is it an urban legend?

If you've got a splitting migraine or have hit your head on the door, then grab the ice bag and ask questions later, because yes, it does work. Ice therapy is nothing new, either; it's been practiced for as long as humans have had access to ice (or even snow) - a bag of ice for headaches and migraines is a proven method of pain relief. 

In this article, we'll take a look at how an ice bag on your head works to take away pain, and we'll show you the best way to apply ice packs for migraines and headaches! 

Is it OK to put an ice bag on your head? 

It's always wise to have a ready-to-go stash of ice or iced goods in your freezer. Whether you've got an ice ball maker to churn out a few ice balls or just have a bag of frozen peas, those frozen goodies are going to come in handy the next time your head starts to hurt. 

  • Using ice to relieve pain does work, but more importantly, it's also safe. This goes for headaches, migraines, or head injuries.
  • An ice pack or a bag of ice will relieve any swelling and essentially numb the pain. The ice cools the blood, too, as it circulates, relieving inflammations when the blood reaches your head. 
  • Ice helps with head injuries that have been caused by a physical blow to the head, and using ice packs for head injuries also helps to prevent further nerve or tissue damage (this is the same reason why doctors place severed fingers or toes in medical ice bags!). Head injuries can result in massive swelling, too, and the ice helps to reduce this.
  • At this point, we should note that if you have suffered a head injury, it's important to seek out medical attention.
  • An ice bag can reduce the pain, but head injuries can result in internal damage that you can't see or serious concussions that don't appear until later on. 

How long should you keep an ice pack on your head?

If you're applying ice for headache or pain relief, then press the ice to the afflicted area for no longer than 15 minutes at a time.

We recommend placing ice cubes into a bag first, then wrapping the bag in a cloth or towel before applying them to your head. 

Applying extremely cold ice packs to exposed skin can cause ice burn, which isn't pleasant. After 15 minutes, allow your skin to return to its normal temperature before reapplying the ice pack if pain or swelling persists.

You should try to only apply ice packs for 15 minutes once every hour. If pain persists after 24 hours, seek further medical assistance!

Can ice packs be dangerous? 

Ice packs are safe and ice packs can be used to alleviate headaches, migraines, and other head pains in both adults and children. Just follow our safety advice outlined above. 

One urban myth that does seem to perpetuate is that using ice packs for headache or head injuries can result in the swelling being reversed and causing blood clots inside the brain. This isn't actually possible, so there's no reason to worry about using an ice pack to help take away the pain. 

Remember, though, ice only works as a pain relief method. It's not a cure.

  • If you have a slight knock or are suffering from a small headache, then ice packs are great.
  • If you regularly experience migraines, then ice packs can only be seen as a temporary measure before you seek medical expertise - there could be a more serious issue that needs to be diagnosed. Doctors may also be able to prescribe more effective migraine relief wraps to take away intense migraine pain. 

Does putting an ice cube on the back of your neck work?

If you're experiencing swelling or have suffered a bang to the head, then the best way to alleviate pain is to apply the ice directly to the afflicted area.

However, a neck ice pack can also be a great way to alleviate headaches and migraines that haven't been caused by a physical blow. 

The ice cubes on neck trick works best when you catch the migraine before it becomes intense.

  • If you feel a headache starting to come on, then place an ice cube or an ice pack on the back of your neck.
  • Hold the ice firmly, applying pressure to the neck, and you'll help to stop the pain before it worsens. 

The theory is that the ice and pressure work to cool the blood in the carotid artery of the neck before it reaches your brain. This stops the migraine from becoming too intense.

Again, we need to point out that if you're experiencing regular migraines, then you need to speak to a doctor rather than relying on ice all the time. 

In fact,ice cubes face is a great solution for certain skin issues too, too. Regularly applying ice to your neck or face (ice-therapy) can help to alleviate puffy eyes while also rejuvenating your skin. It's great for rashes, irritated skin, or simply for aesthetic purposes! 

Ice bag on head: does it work? 

Ice bags on the head -do they really work? From experience, yes. And the medical experts back the theories up too (they use ice in hospitals, after all!).

Ice can be an excellent pain relief remedy, but remember, it's going to be a short term pain reliever. 

We recommend keeping a stash of ice packs or ice cubes in your freezer, as you never know when a headache is going to surprise you out of nowhere. Ice on the neck also works, particularly if you catch the migraine when it's just starting. 

For more serious head injuries, then ice is an excellent pain reliever, but always remember that you need to see a medical professional too!

So, in conclusion, yes; an ice bag on the head does work as a safe and effective pain reliever! Why not bookmark our guide for the next time you hit your head?