When migraines make your life hell...

Migraine is a chronic condition that can have severe impact on a sufferer's life.

Migraine attacks often leave people unable to work or even function to keep up with the basics of their day-to-day lives. The features are severe headaches, often described as a throbbing, pounding or pulsating pain, aggravated by movement or physical activity. It can be located over the temple, but can also literally 'sit in the neck'. In many cases the pain is accompanied by nausea and even vomiting. Plus an aversion to strong sensory stimuli including bright light, loud sounds or strong smells.

There are quite a few medications available over the counter. For some people these work, but for others they do not bring the desired relief. Many sufferers cannot find any other way of coping apart from shutting themselves off in a dark, cool room, unable to do anything other than waiting for the attack to subside. And this can take a whole day or longer. Even simple activities like reading or watching something are far too painful.

Those of you who have ever experienced a migraine attack will know about the excruciating symptoms and how they can literally put your life on hold.

The causes of migraines are still unknown, however various medical hypotheses exist which range from genetic predisposition to spasms of cerebral arteries. Comparing many case histories have led to the identification of recurring triggers and aggravating factors though. These include stress, tiredness, certain foods or drinks and for women the first day of their menstruation.

There have been some great successes treating migraines with cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy.

Hypnosis can help migraine sufferers to manage the physiological responses associated with migraine and can induce a deep sense of relaxation and well-being. This counteracts the triggers stress and anxiety. Starting the treatment with talking therapy to identify individual trigger situations and stressors, the therapist and client can then work collaboratively to find appropriate solutions and coping strategies. Those will then be rehearsed in hypnosis in order to try them out in an experiential way. This can also help to bring about or enhance feelings of self-efficacy and control. Further session can be used to learn self-hypnosis, so that the sufferer can use this powerful tool when a migraine attack strikes in the future.

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