Living with migraine can be incredibly challenging, with pain and other symptoms impacting hugely on our work and family lives. Alongside medication, I've learnt of the value of adding to my 'migraine toolkit' with helpful products, which is where the To Better Day migraine support patches come in! I'm very happy to share my review of the patches and their innovative design.
This review was sponsored by To Better Days, and the patches gifted to me. All opinions are my own.
Please note that I am not a doctor, and this post is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice in any way. All persons should consult with their doctor before trying a new supplement or medication.
Managing migraine pain
While migraine does not only involve pain, it is a symptom for many of us that live with this neurological condition. Pain is a tricky one to define. It varies from person to person and can be everything from sharp stabbing pains to a dull aches that feel as though several elephants are standing on your head. Either way, pain can be all-encompassing and often overwhelming too.
Pain is often thought as a purely physical state of being. It's a bodily sensation that we try to manage. Yet the impact of pain is so much more. It's about saying no to time with friends and family because symptoms are too high. It's about struggling to maintain a work life, or not being able to at all. It's about feeling alone, and as though nobody understands.
Simply said, pain can be life-limiting and nobody finds that easy. No matter how long we live with migraine, the symptoms are still challenging to manage.
To Better Days as part of a migraine toolkit
For many of us with chronic pain then, a toolkit of products to help manage symptoms is so vital. Alongside prescribed medication (if required), there are now lots of exciting and innovative products in the marketplace specifically designed with those living with migraine in mind.
To Better Days and their migraine support patches are one such product. So how do they work?
The migraine support patches provide Vitamin D3, as well as ginger extract, chamomile extract and lavender powder. You simply apply the transparent patch to the forehead, temples or neck when experiencing a migraine attack. The patches can be worn for the duration of the attack, or up to 8 hours and work as targeted relief.
- Very discreet - as a transparent patch they are barely noticeable, and the activation mark on them disappears very quickly.
- Portable - a small product that can easily be slipped into a bag when travelling or out and about.
- Mess free - no gloopy liquids or anything that will get messy!
- Fast acting - they can begin to work after just 30 minutes.
Vitamin D and migraine
It is known that certain supplements such as magnesium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and CoQ10 can be beneficial for those with migraine. More recently, there has been increased research into the role of vitamin D.
While this overview is not comprehensive, I think it is helpful to discuss a few findings (it's the academic in me that likes the science!). As Ghorbani et al. describe, vitamin D, 'as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent' is one of the agents which has been of interest in recent years (2019). In their review of literature, they found that the 'percentage of subjects with vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency among migraineurs and headache patients has been reported to vary between 45% and 100%' (2019; see also Rebecchi, et al. 2021). There was a higher prevalence of vitamin D deficiency/ insufficiency among migraineurs compared to controls (Ghorbani et al. 2019).
A further study by Nowaczewska et al. asserted that there is 'a link between vitamin D and headache frequency' (2020). While they state that there is 'not enough evidence to recommend vitamin D supplementation to all headache patients, . . . it may be beneficial in selected patients to reduce the frequency of headache, mainly in migraineurs, especially in those with vitamin D deficiency' (2020).
These studies suggest that it is important for those with migraine to have their vitamin D levels checked by their doctor, and to discuss supplementation with them. This could include the To Better Days migraine patches!
To Better Days research trials
In terms of the To Better Days patches themselves, the company undertook a small consumer trial in January 2020 involving 29 chronic pain sufferers. They found that:
- 83% felt the patches relieved their pain
- 80% felt a difference within the first day
- 63% experienced relief within the first 30 minutes of use
A safety and tolerability study was undertaken from May to July 2021 (and run by an independent contracts company), where the patches were used daily to test for safety and tolerability. The results demonstrated 'no substantial or dangerous increases in OH(25) levels, showing the patches to be safe for a continuous period of time without the risk of vitamin D build-up' (To Better Days).
My review of the To Better Days migraine support patches
I've used the migraine patches on and off for several months now. I love that they are so easy to use, discreet and no mess! It's great to have a product that I can keep in my desk and use during work without the hassle of plugging in devices or taking tablets. And despite having sensitive skin, I haven't had any reaction at all from using them (which is a big win for me!).
One experience of using the patches sticks out in my mind. It was a Sunday but I had to work (cue eye roll here at working on the weekend!). But poor sleep meant that I had a stabbing pain on the right side of my head that was slowly building over the morning. I didn't really want to take painkillers as I'm always careful about the possibility of medication over-use headache, so I used a patch instead. It took seconds to pop it onto my forehead. About an hour later I noticed that the pain was starting to decrease. Later that afternoon I went out for a walk with my mum and we talked about the how the patch seemed to have helped, and of course that I was out in the fields for a walk rather than in bed with a migraine attack.
This experience, alongside others, means that I will be keeping the To Better Days patches firmly in my migraine toolkit. Quick and easy to use, they work well for me to use as a complement to medication and other tools. And I will happily take going for a relatively pain-free walk in the countryside over staying in bed in pain any day!
As scientists have described, the role of vitamin D is a topic of increasing interest and research. It's quite intriguing to see how vitamin levels can impact those of us with migraine and how supplementation may be of benefit.
I would certainly suggest that everyone with migraine have their vitamin levels checked by their doctor. Personally I try and have my vitamin D levels checked twice a year as a routine aspect of my healthcare.
If you find that you are deficient /insufficient then the next step is to have a good chat with your doctor about the possibility of supplementation, and the To Better Days migraine patches could be a very helpful tool here. You don't even need a prescription!
Ghorbani, Z. et al. (2019) 'Vitamin D in migraine headache: a comprehensive review on literature', Neurological Science, 40(12): 2459.
Nowaczewska, M. et al. (2020) 'The role of vitamin D in primary headache - from potential mechanism to treatment', Nutrients, 12(1): 243.
Rebecchi, V. (2021) 'Vitamin D, chronic migraine, and extracranial pain: is there a link? Data from an observational study', Frontiers in Neurology, 13 May 2021.
More posts on managing migraine and helpful products.