Migraine & Headaches
There is a wealth of published evidence that hypnotherapy is effective as a means of treating migraines, tension and cluster headaches, and furthermore, that it is not simply a placebo. For example, the Emmerson Trexler study found a 49% decrease in the use of medication by the migraine study group, as well as a drop in the frequency, duration and severity of the headaches.
If you are interested, an overview of the study is available here.
Whichever type of headache you suffer from, it is important that your first point of contact is your doctor. He or she needs to know – as well as they can, whether there is an underlying cause of the problem. It may be a particular food, or stress related, but it could also be many other things that only they can ascertain.
Common triggers for migraine are anxiety and reactions to certain foods. Problem foods are normally identified by a process of elimination, but stress is not so simple and it’s unlikely your doctor can help much here.
Stress and anxiety are also common causes of tension headaches, though you should also consider these other factors: squinting, posture, tiredness, dehydration and hunger. If you can resolve the headaches by yourself, that is ideal, however, this may not always be so easy.
It is helpful to be aware, as the NHS website points out, that some painkillers can actually cause headaches if taken for too long. You should talk to your doctor about this when you see him/her.
Hypnotherapy can compliment any treatments recommended by your doctor, or it can work by itself. Firstly, stress and anxiety relief is one of the most commonly requested applications for hypnotherapy and this will be our starting point.
The objective of hypnotherapy is to change unhelpful perceptions and beliefs. If you can change how you experience pain, then you will gain control over the headache, rather than allowing the headache to have control over you.
You may want to read the Pain Management page for more on this subject.
Please note, I will need written permission from your doctor to help treat your headaches, beyond general relaxation and anxiety management.
Giles Norbury is based at the Holistic Clinic in Ludlow, Shropshire.