Conservative medicine does not have the answers to this throbbing head pain. Research recommends that hypnotherapeutic approaches are very useful in providing relief for migraine sufferers. The success of this treatment requires the intellectual teamwork of the hypnotherapist and the migraine sufferer, in order to better understanding the migraine experience, what triggers attacks, and what symptoms that indicate that an attack is about to happen.
Humans process pain when nerves send signals through the nervous system through the spinal cord to the brain, where they are interpreted as painful. These signals pass through an area at the back of the spinal cord called the "dorsal horn," which serves as a gateway. Research shows that psychological factors can help open the gates more widely, or can close them partially or even totally. Stress, depression, and anxiety can make migraines feel even worse, while a calm, focused, positive outlook can help close the pain gate, keeping the pain signals from being felt.
Hypnosis Techniques Effective for Migraines
Evidence accumulated to date suggests that a number of hypnotherapy approaches are highly effective in the treatment of patients with chronic migraine headaches. Although no one technique has been demonstrated to be most effective, all the methods appear to be superior to a standard treatment relying on pharmacological approaches alone. A review of the scientific research on hypnosis shows that fully a dozen different hypnotic techniques have been successfully used in the treatment of chronic migraine headaches.
In a study conducted in 1975, migraine patients treated with hypnosis had a significant reduction in the number of attacks and in their severity compared to a control group who were treated with traditional medications. In addition, at the end of one year, the number of patients in the hypnosis group who had experienced no headaches for over three consecutive months was significantly higher.
During a migraine attack, the blood vessels in the head dilate, and the blood vessels in the hands contract. Normal hand temperature is about 90 degrees; migraine sufferers may have a hand temperature as low as 70 degrees. Techniques emphasizing relaxation, hand warming, and direct hypnotic suggestions of symptom removal have all been shown to be effective in reducing the duration, intensity and frequency of migraine attacks during a ten-week treatment course and at thirteen-month follow-up when compared to control groups using pharmacological or other methods of treatment.
A secondary benefit experienced by many is that hypnotherapy relieves insomnia and improves the quality of your sleep. For migraine sufferers who additionally suffer from insomnia because of the headaches, this is of additional help.
A hypnotherapist can show you in session how your mind can alter your perception of your pain, and teach you self-hypnosis so that you have pain-regulation skills at your disposal when you are not in session. For the highest effectiveness, hypnotherapy techniques should be applied at the earliest onset to reduce or eliminate the severity and duration of a migraine. With repeated treatment, the frequency, severity and duration of migraines can be significantly reduced. The migraine sufferer, therefore, is taught to use self-hypnosis as soon as there are indications of a pending headache. This approach, supplemented with a series of personalized sessions and self hypnosis recordings for migraine relief, has proven to be helpful for many clients.