A good ice pack is essential for Migraine, Cluster Headache, or other headache disorder. They’re our universal comfort measure. Finding the perfect ice pack has been a lifelong pursuit. In the early years, the best available option was a cold, wet wash cloth pasted to my forehead. Obviously, there were problems with this solution:
- It wasn’t nearly cold enough.
- It warmed up way too quickly.
- If I rolled over or tried to sit up, the cloth would fall off my head.
- That simple cloth was never big enough to cover all the painful areas on my head, either.
The ideal ice pack would…
- fit tightly enough to stay in place during everyday activities
- be refillable or replaceable if broken or warmed up too quickly
- be comfortable enough to wear during sleep
- get cold enough without freezing solid
- stay cold longer than 5 minutes
- cover the eyes to block out the light
Trial and Error
In an effort to meet these requirements, I’ve cobbled together assorted ice packs wrapped in scarves for several years. I even tried my hand at sewing my own wearable ice packs. Hundreds of dollars have been invested without success. Finally, I vowed to end the search once and for all by investing in a good quality, wearable ice “hat”. With several options now available, I decide to try three commercially-available, wearable ice packs: MigraCap, Migraine Hat, and Ice Kap.
None of them are perfect. Each one has its pros and cons. Although I have a favorite, they’ve all been useful in different situations. Each one has given me the freedom to move about, hands-free, even while waiting for acute treatments to take effect. All three have shortened my recovery time because I don’t have to cope with all the muscle tension brought on by trying to hold an ice pack in place.
They all share some distinct advantages over the traditional ice pack:
- They can be stored in the freezer until needed.
- They can be worn hands-free during everyday activities.
- They can each be pulled down over the eyes to block out light.
- Long hair can be pulled through an opening in the top of the hat, moving it out of the way.
No one solution is ever perfect for everyone. Take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each one, then decide which one is right for you.
- Soft, stretchy lycra makes it comfortable to wear while sleeping.
- It can be worn over a CPAP mask.
- The gel packs do not freeze solid.
- It is moderately priced at $39.99.
- The gel packs are sewn into the cap, making it impossible to remove or replace them.
- The gel packs stay cold for less than 30 minutes.
- The purple Migracap is usually out of stock.
- It comes with an insulated cooler. The entire kit can be stored in the freezer until needed. When away from home, the entire kit can be carried in the cooler. Gel packs stay frozen up to 8 hours when stored inside the frozen cooler.
- Two replacement gel packs are included.
- It’s affordably priced at only $29.99.
- Each gel pack that is sectioned into 1-inch squares than cannot be removed or replaced if broken.
- These gel sections freeze hard, making the hat uncomfortable while sleeping.
- It fits too loosely on the head.
- The Velcro closure on the insulated cooler is not strong enough to stay closed when picked up by the handle. The cooler does have a zippered closure and shoulder strap that compensate for the weak Velcro closure.
- It’s moderately comfortable to sleep in, although not as stretchy as MigraCap.
- Gel packs are flexible when frozen.
- It has 5 removable and replaceable gel packs.
- It’s the only one with a gel pack covering the top of the head.
- Gel packs can be safely heated in the microwave.
- It has built-in Velcro straps to tighten it around the head.
- Ice Kap comes in 4 sizes for a perfect fit.
- It fits small. Measure the circumference of your head before placing your order. If you prefer a looser fit, order one size larger.
- It’s the most expensive at $69.99.