What is the link between migraines and unprocessed trauma?

Have you tried just about everything to resolve your migraines? You may have visited neurologists and tried many different therapies. You've altered your diet and reorganised your day in anticipation of a looming migraine. Some methods most likely helped with the symptoms, to some extent. 


But the next episode is never too far away. And none of those methods ever 'healed' you. Most likely, you feel tired, frustrated, or even in a kind of resignation stage. Especially when there is no physical, underlying reason for the migraines in the first place. Doctors can't help, as they cannot seem to find out the cause of the migraine in the first place. And you are running out of options.

Unfortunately, migraines are often accompanied by episodes of anxiety, low confidence and sleeping issues at the same time. 

Stress further intensifies migraines

Stress is a significant factor in making migraines more severe. This only adds to the problem. It is like a domino effect where more issues seem to be added to the already undermined and tired system of mind and body.

The mind-body connection 

It is widely documented and accepted that our thoughts, feelings and beliefs have a big impact on our emotional well-being. Recent studies suggest that letting go of past resentment can lower blood pressure. Expressing in writing how you feel about your past trauma can alleviate chronic pain. Pretty astonishing results if you ask me. And migraines are no different.

It is vital to accept and process all emotions. There are no bad or good emotions. They all have a role to play. What we call 'bad' emotions like sadness, anger or resentment are there to show us that we have some work to do. Something is not going well in our lives. We are invited to pause and to identify what is going on with us. Accept the emotions, feel them without getting stuck in them like an observer, and then release them through breathwork and grounding. Imagine emotions leaving your body to the earth. 

If we don’t, if we choose to stuff them down, they will most likely cause some physical issue further down the line so we pay attention.

Our bodies are amazing at telling us that something in our lives is not right. However, we often choose not to listen as we are far too busy. Perhaps it is uncomfortable or inconvenient. The choices we make are shaping our lives.

Slowing down is the work

Can repressed emotions cause migraines?

What if I told you that the underlying reason for migraines is often psychological, and rooted in trauma and unprocessed emotions from years ago? This often goes back as far as your childhood years.

Studies have shown that many people who suffer from migraines or tension headaches report a high rate of exposure to traumatic events or PTSD. While research suggests that many forms of childhood trauma are linked to migraines, the most prevalent cause is associated with emotional abuse. Abuse is a strong word but I would like to put under this word all forms of emotional issues that we may face as children.

But why does abuse have a strong correlation to increased migraines in adulthood? It is believed that emotional issues experienced in childhood cause biological changes. However, that is only one side of the story. What we experience as children leaves behind a mark in the form of beliefs and interpretations. Sometimes it is not the event that caused the migraines, but the meaning and the interpretations that we gave to certain events or situations in our lives. What follows is that we create certain beliefs that leave us emotionally hurt. It is the lower-vibration emotions like anger and resentment that we hold on to.

Our subconscious minds and body accumulate all our emotions and feelings over a lifetime. They are then expressed mentally, emotionally, and eventually, physically in a last desperate attempt to express the hidden, painful truth.

I would like to give you an example to demonstrate what I mean. Let's say that you remember your childhood as perfect. Your parents showered you with love and understanding. However, that is only the "truth" that you consciously choose to remember. Deep in your subconscious, your mind stored a different version of your childhood. You attached certain meanings and interpretations to past events that caused you to create certain beliefs about yourself, such as:

  • I am unlovable.
  • I feel not accepted, different.
  • Migraines were a way to get attention from my mother (longing for my mother’s love).
  • Trying to be more like one of your parents, who also had migraines, that you deeply loved but was not around.
  • Fear of rejection and abandonment.
  • Internal conflict is triggered by guilt.

Those beliefs were tools that helped us to navigate life as children. However, now that we are adults they become our problems. All those beliefs and stories became very harmful to us. They are lodged deep in our subconscious mind directing our lives from the shadows. Yet, we hold on to them. We do that for a number of reasons.

How can I heal unprocessed trauma?

It is absolutely vital to process all emotions. It is crucial to let go of what is not serving us. In order to do that, we have to go back to find the root cause of the unprocessed feelings and emotions. You may ask, but why? Why do I have to go through that pain? This temporary discomfort of feeling the feelings can bring you a huge release, like a valve popping under pressure.  

The sorrow that has no vent in tears may make other organs weep

- Henry Maudsley

All emotions leave behind energetic and hormonal signatures in our bodies, just like stress. When we refuse to see ourselves for who we are and face the emotions they will deposit in our bodies. And our bodies can only take so much before they start screaming at us in pain.

The best thing we can do is to stop and identify and accept all emotional disharmony. Observe the emotions to process them and release all of them.

Let go of attachment 

When physiologically there is nothing "wrong" with you, yet you experience migraines, no medications or treatments can help with unprocessed emotions. Being attached can also cause a lot of issues in our lives because it can lead to resentment and disappointment.

We need to find the root cause and let go.  In order to do that, we need to access the “operating system” of who we are and that is the subconscious mind. Hypnosis can help you easily access that part of you. With the help of a skilled hypnotherapist, you can quickly identify the root cause and process all that needs to be addressed. 

After that, it is much easier for the mind to reframe the interpretation, the meaning that was created, all those years ago. Only then we can programme our subconscious mind for what we desire. This is incredibly important since throughout the day we engage in subconscious programming about 95% of the time.

Hypnosis is by far the best tool out there to reprogramme our lives.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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