Migraine headaches are brutal and often incapacitating. They are also one of the symptoms of a chronically stressed nervous system. Adrenaline decreases the blood supply to the frontal lobe of the brain and when you relax the vessels re-expand and then you have a screaming headache. Often it’s accompanied the nausea and vomiting, light-headedness. While suffering from a migraine, you’re pretty much out for the count. This is a letter I just received from a reader who found some of the relaxation tools to be helpful.
“Shortly after completing my treatment (chemotherapy and radiation) for Hodgkins Disease I began to get vision distortion followed by a very painful headache over one eye. The headache was debilitating, I had to leave work or whatever else I was doing and go home and go to bed. I went to opthalmic radiologist who told me that I had opthalmic migraines and that there was really nothing that could be done to cure them. I could try some medication (Imitrex) but it didn’t work for me. The migraines became more and more frequent. I tried herbal remedies that were ineffective. I realized that when I felt the visual aura that preceded the headache I would become very anxious and stressed, fearing that I would have to leave my office in the middle of the day, cancel all appointments and go home.
I decided that I would do my best to relax when the aura started. I closed my eyes, initiated abdominal breathing and focused on relaxing. When I started this, my migraines began to improve. They were less frequent, less intense. and allowed me to continue what I was doing. I went from one or two migraines weekly, to one monthly, and now one or two yearly. When I get the aura, which happens about once every 3 months now, I will go into my relaxation mode and either not get a migraine or get one that does not interfere with my activities.”
Relaxation, mindfulness and mediation are some of the core tools of the DOC process. He did note that the auras were a consistent warning. There are over 30 symptoms of an adrenalized nervous system with migraines being one of the most common manifestations. With just a few tools, it’s a solvable problem.