Managing Migraines Naturally
When I turned forty, I got my first migraine. Every year after that, they became progressively worse. I tried many different triptan drugs and none of them seemed to work a hundred percent of the time, and in fact, they created a rebound effect where my migraines returned and became more severe. I began to have more migraine days than non-migraine days each month.
Last year, I finally reached my breaking point when my neurologist suggested I take nortriptyline as a prophylactic drug. I'm not sure why this was the last straw for me. Perhaps it was the idea of having to take something every day. Maybe it was the possible side effects I didn't want to deal with. But I knew something had to change, I just wasn't sure what. I was miserable, stressed, and anxious, not only about my migraines but my life in general. I was living a joyless life.
It came in the form of a brochure in the mail. An introductory Reiki class. "Are you stressed? Do you suffer from anxiety or chronic pain? Learn the Reiki practice for self-care." I signed up, thinking I had nothing to lose.
My Reiki teacher talked about the benefits of mindfulness meditation. She led a guided meditation at the end of every class and advised me to do a consistent meditation practice at home. I made sure to take at least 10 minutes out of my day to notice my breath and quiet my mind. If I felt pain or a migraine, I didn't panic or stress over it. She told me to accept the pain and move into it which I still find hard to do, but learning not to focus on my anxious thoughts was helpful. There are studies that show that a consistent meditation practice can reduce the number of migraines per month.
She encouraged me to do yoga, something I tried in the past but never seemed to enjoy. After trying out many different classes, I finally settled on hatha yoga that was very calming where we focus on our breath and balance. Yoga has also proven to be beneficial for migraine sufferers in various studies I read. Now I do yoga three times a week and love it.
My Reiki teacher recommended acupuncture. I found a wonderful acupuncturist who also serves as a therapist. She listens to me talk about my anxiety and whatever else is bothering me. She knows the migraine pressure points and meridians. I always leave her clinic feeling relaxed and refreshed.
After six months of consistent meditation, yoga, and acupuncture, my migraine days have been reduced by almost half. Instead of having 15 to 20 migraine days a month, I have now about 8-10 migraine days. I'm also a less anxious person and I can say that I feel much happier. Interestingly, I'm not sure if practicing Reiki has made a difference, but I'm not consistent with it so it's difficult to properly evaluate it. But I have learned so many other beneficial habits from her class that I'm grateful I signed up. I'm still taking my triptan drugs when I need them, but I'm hopeful for the days when I will only need them maybe a few days a month.
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