Your Own Personal Headache Revolution

In the Headache Healing Road, I declared that my approach is revolutionary. Why is that so—but not in the way you might think? It’s revolutionary because, based on working with hundreds of headache sufferers, the following statements will make some people feel uncomfortable:

  1. Longtime headache and migraine sufferers can greatly reduce or completely get over their cycles of pain.
  2. They can accomplish that goal without taking headache medications for the rest of their lives.

If you get migraines, how many times have you:

  • Been to a practitioner who told you “you’ll just have to live with it”?
  • Been prescribed medication to get over the rebound headaches you got from the previous medication(s)?
  • Had an adverse reaction or side effect to a medication you were taking (or trying to discontinue) for your headaches?
  • Rejoiced in finally finding a solution only to have it fizzle out?
  • Thought or worried or over-committed yourself into a migraine and/or a tension headache?
  • Lived your life in fear of the next pain?
  • Felt the tightness in your body and mind but not known how or be able to change it?

Given all of that, it’s tempting to crawl into a hole and never come out again! And when you do, again, you’ll try the “next best thing” because you’re not a quitter, and you really want to find your way out of this misery.

However, if it worked so well—”it” being the magic-bullet drug, the number of migraineurs wouldn’t have increased from 28 million to 35 million in ten years, unless it’s just a sign of better diagnosis and reporting. After billions of dollars spent on drugs and drug research, billions of lost and ineffective hours of work time, and disability compensation, wouldn’t the headache population feel better instead of still suffering so greatly? Shouldn’t they?

In order to buck conventional wisdom, I teach that you have to look at yourself and take charge of your health. This mode—self-care management training—is finally gaining popularity. (Stay tuned for my next post about the Pain Management Consortium I just attended at NIH.) It’s good to have help and support on the self-care path, though. Don’t let yourself be struggling with your pain for the rest of your adult life. You are much more powerful than you think you are, or you are as powerful as you want to be, if you want it.

When people hear what I do, they often say, “Oh, I used to have headaches (or migraines), but I don’t get them anymore.” Their next utterance is usually a summary of their success:

When I retired [or changed or quit my job or moved to another area or state or got divorced, etc.], I stopped getting them.

Despite all the years of medications and struggle, the magic bullet was usually something they finally figured out, albeit after years of observation and suffering.

That’s the kernel. Learn Yourself. Study everything about You in detail. You’re the expert, so don’t let anyone deter you from becoming the expert about your own body and life. This “YouSchool” is paramount to your healing.

At the same time, it begins with being willing and open enough to see what’s right in front of your nose that you may have discounted or been ignoring. Open the door to what is possible. You may have been through that door before or you may not even be able to see it yet. Keep being open to what is and trying to feel what you’re feeling, especially when you’re closed and unwilling to be exploratory. That is the path and the revolution I have followed and teach others to follow.

Instead of your headaches or migraines being your burden, perhaps they are your greatest boon and a messenger of how to tweak your life so that your symptoms no longer plague you and can fade away, yes, fade away into the background.