Anytime I walk past the detergent isle in the grocery store, it happens. Or if I’m in a room with someone wearing too much perfume or cologne. My eyes start to water from the first sniff. That quick stab of pain in my head, it comes as I breathe. I hold my breath and try to move quickly away. Are you like me? Do certain scents give you a headache? For me, it’s synthetic fragrance oils.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, People with migraine process and perceive individual modes of sensory stimuli differently than people without migraine. Patients most commonly report osmophobia (intolerance to smell) to scents (e.g., perfumes, deodorants), foods (e.g., coffee, fried foods, onion), and cigarette smoke. Put simply, some people are more sensitive to scent.
I’m not a doctor, but I can tell you what I do when I feel a whopper coming on. First, I remove myself from the situation if I can. Move quickly past the perfume counter in a store. Excuse myself and go outside to get some fresh air or go to the ladies room.
Rub your head
Sometimes, just rubbing my head and neck helps. So mess up your hair and massage your scalp and temple. It fells good even when you don’t have a headache. Try to relax your neck muscles. When you get a headache, you tense up, especially your upper back and neck. If you’re able, do some stretches on the floor.
Use Peppermint Scented Oil
I pull out the Peppermint Scented Oil I carry in my pocketbook and put it on back of my neck and wrist. The oil on my neck feels cooling and tingly and seems to lessen my pain. The oil on my wrist I can bring to my nose to cover whatever the offending odor is. (This is a great tip if you travel on the subway)
Ice packs are your friend
If you’re home, try making an ice pack for your head. I keep one in the same spot in my freezer so I can find it easily, even in the middle of the night. I can get a headache a few hours after the offending aroma is gone.
Do certain scents give you a headache? What do you do that helps?
Yours in Gratitude,