Maybe It Is Just "All In The Head"?

Last updated: January 2022

Hi there, I'm a long-standing migraine sufferer (over 20 years). My attacks can last anywhere from 24-72 hours. Sometimes just about bearable to function at minimum service but more than often they knock me flat with excruciating pain and vomiting! Kept a diary, no real pattern emerged... Nothing really interesting there, huh? ;)

What I've tried

Over these 20 years and after numerous IRMs, osteopathic sessions, physical therapy, hypnosis, super-strong meds (that don't change a thing), acupuncture, yoga, and all sorts of head cooling patches, neck heating cushions, pressure point bracelets, essential oils, nigella seeds, etc. You name it I've tried it.

My son's insight

My son made an incredibly interesting random comment recently when I had just "miraculously" and suddenly come through an attack. He said, "Well mum, it went away because you weren't thinking about it... you were thinking about having to pack the suitcases, get the car serviced..." and all the other pre-holiday stuff... and it's true! When I put myself automatically into "business-mum" mode and made lists and thought about all the little things we needed to take, organize, etc. - my migraine had GONE!

Reflecting on similar situations

It got me thinking that there have been other occasions when I've been having an attack (let's say a mild one because I was actually still standing and functioning) and I've been "obliged" to concentrate on something complex or urgent.

An example I thought of was one day I arrived at work in full migraine mode but I couldn't call in sick again so I just said to myself, "It's not a big day, you can reply to emails and do some work, put your earphones in with some white noise and you'll get through it." I literally sat down at my desk and my boss came charging in shouting, "You gotta do this, that, it's urgent, it's a catastrophe, right now."

I thought I was going to break down and cry BUT when she left the room I realized my migraine had GONE - I mean completely AND it didn't come back! I'm certainly not saying that migraines are "all in the head" but I've decided that when I get one, rather than concentrating on how much it hurts and how bad I feel, I'm really going to try and distract my brain from the pain.

Could shifting our focus be the answer?

Thinking about it while typing, maybe it's that! Reading all your stories, there are so many different things that seem to help or relieve symptoms like hot showers, cold towels, walking. But maybe it's just the fact of distracting our brains from the pain by doing something else. A bit like counting sheep when you can't sleep. Rather than concentrating on "I can't sleep, I can't sleep..." we count those little bundles of wool and we trick our brains and we fall asleep.

I hope this gets you thinking and maybe someone out there got distracting enough reading my article that their migraine WENT AWAY :)

Hugs to all you fellow sufferers :)

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.

Community Poll

My dark room: