Headaches are the WORST! Ever since I was little I have suffered from migraines, tension and sinus headaches.
There is one thing I always turn to for headache relief. DIY Freezer Bags.
Like a boo boo bag for your head, these reusable fabric ice packs are easy to keep on hand when you need to soothe your head.
My whole family loves these homemade cold compress pillows. It’s one of my favorite natural headache remedies.
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I also participate in affiliate programs for other retailers. Originally published April 19, 2016. Updated to include better instructions and supplies.
Headache Relief Bags to DIY
Now that my kids are also starting to get headaches, I’m more aware than ever about what we are putting in our bodies. I hate to turn immediately to medicine.
Although my headaches aren’t classified as migraines anymore, I still get severe headaches about once a month. They are caused by allergies, stress, caffeine, and pretty much if people look at me the wrong way.
Someone made me a DIY freezer bag when I was in college to help me with my headaches. And I have used it ever since.
Now with the kids needing headache relief too, I decided that we needed to make more of these bags.
I’ll be honest, there had been fights over who got to use the freezer bag.
They are really easy to make and require really basic sewing skills. I had my mother-in-law come over to help me and we made 3 at once.
You will probably also want to make more than one. My kids use them all the time.
Of course they grab one when they need headache relief but they also use it if they bump their heads, etc. I love that it is non-medicinal and helps them to find comfort.
Why does cold help a headache
I’m going to keep things all the way real and remind you that I am no scientist. I do know about headaches, or rather, my experience with headaches.
Ever since I was little, my mom would give me a cold washcloth when my migraines came on. It was soothing and helped relieve the pain a little bit.
I read that cold can help blood vessels constrict, making the pain less noticeable. While it doesn’t take the pain away, it does help to numb the area and distract your brain from the pain.
That’s especially true for migraines. Other types of headaches might feel more relief from warmth. But I use these cold packs for all my headaches and it always feels better.
You’ll want to look up a medical journal for a legit answer.
How to make a reusable cold pack for headaches
My original freezer bag has always been referred to as “the cats” because of the material that was used. It had cartoon cats all over it. We still refer to these bags as “the cats” even though they use cuter printed fabric.
You can call your bags whatever you like.
Scroll down for a printable instruction list with full measurements and instructions.
Unpopped popcorn, you say. And I say to you, yes.
DIY corn bags, which can be heated up in the microwave call for dried corn from a feed store. When I opened up my original cold bag for headaches to see what was inside, it looked like popcorn.
There’s a very real chance it was dried corn and I just couldn’t tell the difference.
Regardless, all of my bags use popcorn. This means that they work great as a cold compress, but shouldn’t be heated in the microwave.
The bags are fairly heavy and the pressure helps to relieve a little bit of the pain from the headache. It’s pretty amazing.
When we only had one of these bags, I would suffer through a minor headache at night because I wasn’t sure if the headache would worsen and I’d need “the cats” more in the morning.
Essentially, you are creating a small rectangular shaped pillow. Except instead of stuffing it with batting, you’ll add your popcorn.
You’ll sew all three sides and then leave a small opening on the fourth side where you’ll add your popcorn.
And once you have filled your bag, you’ll just need to close up the hole. Thinking about it now, I should have added a zipper so that these bags could be washed from time to time.
I keep them in a plastic bag in the freezer but they could still probably benefit from a cleanup…
Now we fight over who gets to use what pattern, but there is one for each of us.
These DIY freezer bags for headache relief are one of my favorite things in life. I used them twice this week due to headaches.
If you suffer from migraines or terrible headaches, you need to make these!
They feel so great on your head, but I often scoot it down to cover my eyes as well.
These are perfect size and weight for kids and adults. Definitely make more than one. They are so great to have on hand!
If you are an expert sewer, consider adding a zipper and an inner muslin bag for the popcorn so you can wash the cover.
P.S. I’m really sorry you if you get headaches too. They are the pits!
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Make your own homemade headache bag
- (2) pieces of fabric that are 10 3/4" x 6" (which includes 1/2" for seams)
- 28 ounces of unpopped popcorn
- Sewing machine and someone to work it...
- Face fabric pieces together so that the right side of the fabric is facing the other right side of the fabric.
- You can pin the pieces together before sewing if that is your preference.
- Sew all sides making sure to leave a 1 inch opening (approximately) on one of the short sides where you'll add the popcorn.
- Turn the fabric right side out.
- With a funnel, add unpopped popcorn.
- Carefully, sew the remaining 1-inch opening, closed.
See images in the blog post to see a tip for making sure the corners aren't too bulky.
28 ounces of popcorn make the perfect weight for these headache bags.