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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,

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.

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


  • Raven McMurrin Yeltatzie
    8 years ago

    Knitting helps keep our loose ends together, doesn’t it. Best of luck and loss of headaches!

  • Carol D. Marsh author
    9 years ago

    Ellen – the only aspects of Dr. Buchholz’ diet that I found really difficult were giving up my daily cup of tea (my English ancestors are spinning in their graves!) and getting to the point that I really understood how few bottled or jarred or prepared foods I could buy off the grocery store shelf. The silver lining to this diet is that I am eating much better, have lost a few pounds and have better energy.

    I was motivated to follow the diet because I was at the point – that many of us get to – of desparation. When I left my job a year ago, I thought I’d need six or eight months of rest and self-care, then be ready to find a job. I began the diet really motivated to make it work.

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    9 years ago

    Carol, I know some people do really well on Dr Buchholz’s plan. Others I’m afraid don’t seem to fare so well. Honestly, I’ve never given his plan a 100% shot yet, but my Migraine issues are ultra sensitive to other health issues far beyond the scope of the things he talks about in his book. I’m wondering how easy/hard you found it to follow the strict diet guidelines he uses?

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