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This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Paula Griffin. 

For about the last 10 years, I've had bouts of migraines every few months. My first-line treatment is definitely rizatriptan (Maxalt), but here's my migraine runbook if I'm caught out without access to meds. You should talk to your doctor about what might work best for you, and whether you would benefit from prescription or over-the-counter drugs in addition to "natural" remedies.

Drink some coffee . I've found a swift application of caffeine can prevent the beginnings of a headache from turning into a full-blown migraine about 10% of the time. Drink it quickly, and drink it black -- trust me, adding dairy is a mistake. Iced is best if you have the option.

Cool down.   After shotgunning some caffeine, I start trying to find a way to lower my body temperature. If I'm at home, I get into a very cold shower, concentrating the water on my lower back and the back of my knees, where it will cool down my body the fastest. I also carry around Icy-Hot patches and a couple of instant-cold packs in my backpack for when I'm caught someplace where showering isn't feasible.

Vomit . Sorry, I know this one is gross. I'm not encouraging you to force yourself to vomit, but if your migraines are making you nauseous, sometimes it can be better to just get it over with. This has about a 50% cure rate for me personally, and while it's great when it fixes a headache, it's the absolute worst when you throw up and your head still hurts. (If you hadn't guessed, this step is the biggest reason you shouldn't add milk to your coffee. If you have to eat something during your headache, dried fruit is the least terrible option. )

Pinch the bridge of your nose . This provides very temporary relief, but it's less dangerous than applying pressure to my eyeball, which I always feel like doing during a bad headache.

Acknowledge the pain . Migraines hurt, and pretty much make everything worse. (Seriously brain -- I was already stressed out, and now you're going to make me miserable for 4 hours and exhausted for another 3? That was your great idea about how to fix my issues?) Get mad at your headache. Yell, punch a pillow, cry. I don't know if it actually helps with the pain, but who the hell cares at this point.

Give yourself a light foreground process and wait it out . If it gets to this point, my go-to strategy is to lay down in a dark room and focus on a simple task. This would be something like rereading a favorite book, or listening to an album you know really well. The process should be predictable and comforting. I usually go with a Harry Potter book here -- I know the story arc really well, and some of the chapters almost verbatim. It's a ritual that I know I can manage even when I'm operating at about 10% of my usual mental capacity (and 2% of my emotional capacity). Bonus: if I read long enough in bed, I'll usually fall asleep, even after a liberal dose of caffeine. I'm lucky enough that my migraines are typically <6 hours, so if I fall asleep after doing all the previous steps, often by the time I wake up it will be over with.

Post-headache: hydrate . This may be peculiar to me, but if I don't over-hydrate after a headache, I'm usually setting myself up for a second one within another day. Drink at least double the water you think you should.

Best of luck with your migraines.

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