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10 August 2016

Dealing with the Emotional Effects of Migraine

Dealing with the Emotional Effects of Migraine


Migraines are not only physically painful; they are also emotionally draining. In fact, the emotional ramifications brought on by migraines can sometimes be much greater than the pain itself.
English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings
English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Link between Migraines and Emotional Distress


If you have suffered with migraines, then you know how debilitating they can be and how that can interfere with your daily life. Perhaps you have had to miss work or you were unable to attend social events. You may have been forced to postpone or cancel family outings or gatherings. Likely, you have also had days where it was difficult, if not impossible, to complete simple tasks or keep up with daily responsibilities.

Not being able to perform your routine activities or having to miss out on special occasions can cause a lot of emotions to spring up. Some of the most common emotional problems migraine sufferers encounter include:

Frustration
Guilt
Anger
Depression
Low Self-Esteem

These emotions can affect many areas of your life including your career, family and relationships. Fortunately, by recognizing them and understanding that your migraines, not you, are to blame then you will be better able to control them.

Stress: A Symptom and a Trigger


This migraine-induced emotional roller coaster can be exhausting and can add even more stress to an already stressful situation. Unfortunately, this will only enhance the emotions you are already feeling.

The solution? Reduce the stress in your life. Although there is no denying that migraines cause stress, stress is also one of the leading migraine triggers, as proven in multiple studies. One study in particular, led by Dr. Sara Schramm, showed that on a scale of 0-100 the average stress level for migraine sufferers was 62, the highest level of all the headache types studied.

Since stress leads to migraines and migraines to stress, sufferers are often faced with an endless cycle. However, there is good news. By learning how to reduce and cope with the stress in your life you may be able to stop the cycle.

Coping Methods


To help prevent the cycle from reoccurring, it is important that you find an appropriate coping method. What may work for one person may not work for you, so try out as many of the following methods as you need to until you find the one that works best for you.

Therapy - There are many types of therapies available and you may need to try more than one. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help reduce stress by changing negative thought patterns in the mind, whereas acupuncturists and massage therapists can help to relax your body as a whole.

Medication - If other methods do not work, find out which medications are recommended by your doctor. Whether it be for anxiety control, migraine prevention or for pain relief, your doctor will be able to prescribe the medication that is right for you.

Breathing Techniques -  Breathing is very calming and a great place to start when trying to lower your stress level. Simply close your eyes, inhale deeply through your nose and slowly exhale through your mouth. Repeat this process for a few minutes or until you feel more relaxed.

Essential Oils - Oils such as lavender, chamomile, rose and frankincense have been used for generations because of their natural calming properties and ability to relieve stress. Add a few drops to a diffuser, dilute it and use it as a body oil blend or put a few drops on a handkerchief to carry with you throughout the day.

Journaling - Journals are a great form of expressive therapy, but they are also very helpful when trying to discover what situations trigger your migraine. By recording the events, feelings and experiences that led up to a migraine attack, you will be able to gain a better sense of understanding and control. As a result, you may be able prevent it from happening again.

Working Out - Exercise is good for the body, but it is also great for the mind and an excellent stress reliever. Whether it be walking, swimming, yoga, weight lifting or a hard core cardio workout, find an exercise routine that works for you and stick with it. Even after one workout, you may be amazed at how great you will feel, from the inside out.

Your life and your emotions do not have to be controlled by migraines. Instead, you can control them by recognizing and learning how to manage your main stress culprits. Start practicing the methods above today and soon you may be saying goodbye to migraines and hello to a new and revitalized you.

About the Author: 

Dr. Mark Khorsandi works at the Migraine Relief Center. They provide surgical treatments that reduce and eliminate pain for migraine sufferers.

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