Giving Yoga A Chance For Migraine
Due to another medical diagnosis, I recently had to come off my preventive migraine medication and I began to feel helpless quickly when I realized it was going to be a little longer-term than my doctors were intending. I knew I had to find another way to cope, try to pick myself up, deal with the pain, and deal with my symptoms.
Starting yoga during a migraine attack
Many community members (including myself) have talked about how much they have benefitted from a “darkroom” when experiencing migraine symptoms. Mine includes darkening shades, lots of blankets, and a cool temperature to help combat some of my hot flashes. I recently got my old yoga equipment out and placed that in my darkroom for when my symptoms first start to present.
There are quite a few pieces of yoga equipment that I own that I felt would be beneficial to share with our community, as it’s made a difference for me in calming down, making myself less aware of how much pain I’m in, and really focusing on my breathing and the temperature of the room.
A yoga wheel
I have a yoga wheel that I use to stretch out several body parts, including my back, neck, and legs, that also serve as an acupressure tool when I roll out my shoulders. I usually use this by rocking back and forth and creating just enough pressure to feel like a light massage, as well as a little bit of a stretch for my neck, mainly. When I’m feeling well, I mainly focus on the exercise and stretching component of the practice of yoga. I also make sure to focus on breathing and rely on an interruption-free environment, where I know I’ll be able to dedicate that amount of time to myself. This is part of my self-care.
I also have several yoga seats, some filled with beans about 6 inches thick, round in shape to sit on to help relieve pressure on your coccyx. It feels good to sink in, especially when you are meditating and working on breathing exercises. Another yoga seat I have is silicone and filled with air to sit and balance on. It also serves as a release of pressure on your back and tailbone.
A yoga mat
And, of course, I have my yoga mat. When I am really struggling with symptoms and need to lie down, sometimes getting on the floor in that cool dar environment, lying on my yoga mat helps me regain my sense of center and enables me to sink into the mat, into the floor, and just lie there. A lot of my yoga exercises that I do when I am struggling with migraine are just focusing on my breath and making sure I’m not thinking about the pain and just allowing myself to rest, lie there, and do a lot of nothing.
Focusing on my breathing
When I’m not feeling well, struggling with head, neck, and body pain with migraine, I focus on breathing and putting pressure on certain pressure points in those specific areas. I don’t focus on time, but only my breathing, completing the cycles of slowing inhaling through my nose, taking a 5-10 second break, then slowly exhaling through my mouth. Along with the cool temperature in the room, the acupressure I’m providing myself, the isolated room free from interruption, and my breathing makes a huge difference just in the way I can destress from the pain of migraine. Instead, I focus on the things I am in control of.
How much has your migraine disease changed or evolved over time?