• Katie Hannon

Helpful Products to Combat Symptoms

When dealing with chronic symptoms, I have been willing to try anything that could help. After years of trial and error, here are a few purchasable products that have proven helpful for me and my Post-Concussive symptoms.
1. Headache and Migraine Relief Cap
This stretchy ice-filled head wrap fits securely (but not too tightly) around your head, with a hole at the top to pull your ponytail through for any long-haired folks. It has been a saving grace for me when I am having debilitating headache days. I'm someone who has many different types of headaches, and this 'ice helmet' is perfect for days when I just feel like my brain is going to explode. You can wear it over your skull or pull it down over your eyes if you're having an ocular migraine. It's great for times when you need to calm down your headache symptoms, but still need to be moving around and can't lay flat on a normal ice pack, as it stays on while you move. You might not look the coolest, but your brain will thank you!
2. Facial Ice Roller
For headaches or migraines that form at the front of your face, an ice roller can be very helpful in easing some of your pain. For me, migraine pain centers under my eyebrows, along my sinuses, and around my cheekbones, so this roller is great for massaging those areas. Amazon has plenty of different versions, shapes, and sizes for a variety of prices, but they all pretty much do the same thing. I found mine at my local drug store for just $4.99!
3. TheraCane Massager
By far one of the best purchases I've made in the last year. A lot of my headache and migraine pain stems from tightness in my neck, shoulders, and back. In an ideal world, I would get deep tissue massages every week and move into a spa - but in the real world, massages are far from cost-effective and something I can only treat myself to every so often. The TheraCane allows you to hit many trigger areas - that usually require the help of another person - all by yourself! It is extremely versatile and allows you to get some real traction when working on those sore spots. Personally, I love using my TheraCane to reduce some of the tension I carry at the base of my skull by digging one of the little knobs into my trigger points and massaging around the area. Definitely worth a try if you are someone who has chronic pain in your neck, shoulders, or back.
4. Foam Earplugs for Sleeping
One of the superpowers that people experiencing concussions or Post-Concussion Syndrome gain through injury is supersonic hearing. We can hear a pin drop, the floors creaking, and wind blowing. Wearing foam earplugs to sleep changed the game for me. They're malleable enough that they fit comfortably in most ears, and don't disrupt sleep by falling out or moving throughout the night. I like to wear one in each ear since I toss and turn a lot throughout the night, and I have become so accustomed to wearing them I barely notice I have them in at all. Although foam can't cut out all sound, it does a good enough job muting it so you can fall into a nice deep sleep. You can find foam earplugs at most drug stores or pharmacies (and they come in varying sizes, colors, and firmness!).
5. Vibes Invisible Earplugs
As much as I do truly adore my brightly colored foam earplugs at night, it's not my favorite daytime look. Vibes Invisible Earplugs are purposefully made to provide noise control while being very discreet to the wearer. They come with a bunch of different sized tips so you can find one that feels most comfortable in your ear. Like the foam earplugs, they don't block out sound entirely, but mute background noises and eliminate distractions. They do a great job of dulling the often overstimulating noisy world around me, while still allowing me to participate fully and nobody ever seems to notice I have them in!
6. Noise Cancelling Headphones
Alright, so we know there are a LOT of new headphones on the market that claim to be noise cancelling. They also tend to cost a LOT of money. I was really hesitant to invest, but I'm so glad I did. The Bose QuietComfort series of headphones are true to their name - very comfortable and entirely quiet. These headphones single handedly got me through dorm-style living in college and are life savers while traveling. They are really great for studying or working too! Bose makes many different versions of noise cancelling devices, some like these over-ear headphones, others are small inner earbuds. Personally, I prefer the over-ear style headphones just because I tend to notice having something inside my ear for extended periods of time provides it's own level of discomfort, whereas the bigger headphones are comfortable to wear laying down and I don't have to worry about losing them (especially since they are not cheap to replace). Of course the sound quality is incredible when you are listening to music, but sometimes I like to wear my headphones without music playing, and just the noise cancelation feature on because it just cuts all of the headache inducing, migraine provoking, distracting stimulation out.

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