Pain and Spirituality

I’ve had migraines since I was 13 years old, but only six to eight times per year. When I hit 50, they began to be more frequent and more painful. At 55, I had to leave a job i loved (Founding Executive Director of a small nonprofit housing and service organization, Miriam’s House) because I simply could not manage the intensity of the work and the intensity of the pain. I have been unemployed for just over a year, now, have written a book about some of the women at Miriam’s House (not published … yet!), and post regularly on my blog, www.painandspirituality.blogspot.com.

I am currently at the end of a four-month trial of Dr. Buchholz’ 1.2.3 Program for migraine reduction. It includes stopping all pain medication and greatly restricting the diet. Sadly, I cannot report that it has helped me: perhaps the pain is a bit less intense? I don’t really know, it might just be wishful thinking.

Triggers are environmental: storms, weather changes in general, strong odors, flashing lights. Also stress: if I allow my anxiety to spike in a stressful situation, I can feel the migraine begin.

I’ve learned to manage the pain with meditation, prayer, deep muscle relaxation, all of which I have blogged about. But three or four days a week I am lying on the couch with a blindfold over my eyes for at least 6 hours, sometimes all day and then the next day. Preventative medications (neurontin, topamax) have not helped much and have annoyingly limited my ability to think clearly.

Thank God for my husband, who is very understanding and loving; my little dog; the writing I can do several days a week; and knitting.

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