Sunday, July 12, 2009

Flow with the migraine pain

I've reached a pinnacle. The 10 of 10s in migraines once again.

The menstrual migraine. Even though I have constant pain, it does spike up and down on me over the day or week or month. I've written that the last three weeks have been horrible and I've been at a 10 other days this last three weeks but not for the entire day and I've been able to find relief. Today started with a thunderstorm and my menstruation and my head hates me for both. Storms over, but head is on fire. My ears are ringing so bad I can't hear much else. I've been deep breathing, yoga poses, meditation - as much as I can - and flowing with it. It's getting me through the day and I know I will survive to have another good day as well as another bad one.

I learned something very helpful at the Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute when I spent three weeks there last summer. I learned a lot but one of the best was a class on flowing with the migraine. Not fighting it but letting the pain be and flow and flow with it. Sounds impossible at first, I know. I had to use a recording to help me through it for a long time when I started, but I'm much better at it now and can turn to mode "Flow with it" on my own. I have to consciously remember to do it.

I start out like always thinking "I want this pain to stop!" and "I have to get it to go down!" and fighting the pain. Then I remember and consciously stop and say to myself "don't fight the pain, it exerts to much effort, let it flow" Amazingly after awhile I relax and I feel my muscles in my head relax. The pain is still at top notch, no change there, but the muscles in my head, neck and face let up.

Then I repeat a phrase that helps me - sometimes "This Too Shall Pass" sometimes "Pain is not all I am" sometimes other things I've heard. Sometimes I have to keep repeating "Flow with it, let it flow" over and over until I can turn on the auto mode of relaxation.

Then I can meditate. I can look around the room (not moving my eyeballs cause that hurts) and just look at things. I look not at the things themselves but the shapes, colors, angles and such. I breathe deeply and purposefully and let the pain flow - let it be.

I use my essential oil - MGrain - that has basil, peppermint and Lavendar in it that allows me to breathe deeper and opens up the passageways in my head. The pain is still just as bad, but I'm flowing with it.

Like an ocean I feel it ebb and flow. the tide coming in and out, the throbbing, pulsating, my ears ringing but I don't fight it - I let it be. Just be. I can feel above myself somewhat and the pain as not a part of me but something happening. Yes, it still hurts so much, but I am apart from it and it just flows.

Time passes and as I relax more I am able to stretch, to talk, to type a blog, to meet with a client. I'm not fighting, I'm flowing with it. It gives me a much needed breather from fighting and wishing it would go away. No worries about the pain, just letting it be, letting it flow.

I thank MHNI for teaching this to me and I hope it will help others. Consciously forcing myself to not fight, to not worry, to not push, to let it be and let it flow like the ocean. It helps me believe that I am not the pain.

So, to all those out there in a lot of pain, try this out as crazy as it may seem, Let go, let the migraine flow, stop fighting for a little while and let it flow, let it just be. Be serene amidst the pain. It takes more energy to keep fighting it when you are in such pain. Think of it like labor coaches tell you - refocus and make yourself apart from the pain, different, it's there and you're here.

I hope you can get some relief from this if you too are in great pain - not relief from pain, but relief from constantly fighting the pain. So, let's all take some time out to just let it be and let it flow.


  1. I used to keep eucalyptus oil on hand for when I had my migraines, but my supplier went out of business (or more like was ran out of town because of religious persecution). I strongly believe in the use of aromatherapy and it's relaxing benefits. It's best to ride the migraine out than to fight it, tensing up only makes things worse. Deep breathing always helps.

  2. This is a great post, and I needed a reminder to separate myself from the pain. My go-to mantras are "this is only right now" and "let go... let go... let go..."

    The stress, anxiety, and frustration that comes with fighting the pain is just not worth it, but it's easy to get caught up in our suffering and forget.

    Hugs to all,

  3. Thank you all for the comments on this - I truly believe that when I am able that this is a great tool to help me.