There are two schools of thought when it comes to hypnosis for migraines and headaches. On one hand, you have those who believe migraine treatment is only possible with conventional pain meds, arranged via conventional medical services and clinical consultations. On the other, many firmly believe that the key to the successful treatment of headaches and migraines lies in relaxation to reduce tension.
In reality, the truth is actually somewhere right down the middle. In some instances, clinical intervention and medical advice are the only realistic option for bringing headaches and migraines under control. But when regular or chronic headaches and migraines (see also ‘Hypnosis for Migraines‘) are indeed caused by tension, stress, and worry, alternative forms of therapy like hypnosis have demonstrated impressive effectiveness over the years.
Dissecting the Difference Between Migraines and Headaches
For migraine sufferers, there’s little more frustrating than the common misconception that a long and painful headache is the same as a migraine. Truth is, you cannot understand or appreciate the overwhelming pain and debilitating effects of a migraine unless you have experienced one personally.
You can learn about migraine symptoms and study all the medical information in the world, but to know what a migraine is really like, you have to experience one first-hand.
Even then, migraines have very different effects and levels of severity from one person to the next. They also vary significantly in terms of frequency – some people suffer them far more often than others.
Thankfully, while the vast majority of people experience headaches from time to time, migraines are nowhere near as common. Still, for the millions of people who continue to suffer from migraines – even with all the advanced medicine and clinical treatment options in the world – anything that could see things improve for them would be welcome news.
Precisely why so many have been turning to hypnosis over recent years.
What Exactly Are Migraines?
While it’s true to say that one of the most common effects of a migraine headache is a painful and prolonged headache, this is just one of many unpleasant characteristics associated with migraines.
Some sufferers feel no pain at all, instead of experiencing strong visual or auditory phenomena that can be incredibly disorienting. From flashing lights to tunnel vision to temporary partial blindness in one or both eyes, a migraine can make it impossible to function for as long as it lasts.
Even the most basic activity can be rendered impossible until you feel better when affected by a migraine.
Some people also experience nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. A migraine can come and go within the space of an hour or two or may linger for up to three days. Migraines can make that affected feel as if they are in need of urgent medical help, but research has shown that irrespective of how severe or prolonged an episode may be, migraines do not cause any lasting or permanent harm.
By contrast, a headache is just that – the sensation of pain, tension, pressure, and general discomfort in one or more parts of the head. While a headache can sometimes be accompanied by additional symptoms, a headache in its own right is characterized as pain in the head.
What Are the Main Causes of Headaches and Migraines?
Even today, migraines remain a mystery to the medical community in general. Even with vast quantities of quality data to go on, studies have yet to draw any outright conclusions regarding the causes of migraines, or how they can be prevented.
Nevertheless, the common experiences of many sufferers have enabled us to learn several important things about potential migraine triggers. Specifically, each of the following is a known cause of migraines in many sufferers:
• Hormonal changes
• Food intolerance, especially to certain additives
• Excessive exercise
• Strong emotion
• Strong lighting
• Insomnia and other sleep problems
• Alcohol and caffeine
• Certain medications
• Physical injuries
Incidentally, each of the above also has the potential to cause a more ‘conventional’ headache. The causes of both headaches and migraines can be physical or psychological in nature, or a combination of both.
In any case, anyone who is even slightly concerned about the headaches and migraines they are experiencing should seek appropriate professional help at the earliest possible stage. It’s almost always possible to improve problems related to migraines and headaches, but it’s better to seek the recommendations of experts sooner than later.
Is Hypnosis an Effective Treatment for Migraine Sufferers?
Whether hypnosis could represent an effective treatment for migraines depends on a wide variety of factors. Primarily, the root cause of the migraines or headaches the person is suffering (if identifiable) holds the key to successfully treating the condition.
For example, if a series of consultations with a doctor leads to the conclusion that the issues are directly related the stress and tension, hypnosis could be just the thing. At its core, hypnosis is a form of behavioral therapy that enables a person to enter a deep and thoughtful state of relaxation, during which they have the opportunity to effectively ‘reprogram’ their subconscious.
In doing so, it becomes possible to make attitudinal and behavioral adjustments that can help bring issues with stress and anxiety under control.
If the suspected cause of the migraines or headaches is more physical in nature, hypnosis could still play a role in managing the condition. Hypnotherapy has the potential to be a surprisingly capable and powerful pain management tool – effective against most types of physical pain and discomfort.
Nevertheless, as prolonged headaches or frequent migraines can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health issue, expert advice should be sought at the earliest possible stage. Only after consulting with a doctor should alternative treatment options like hypnotherapy be considered.
Self-Hypnosis and Migraines
Hypnotherapy can and often does work well for many patients. If it works well for you, it’s often possible to take things to the next level by mastering the art of self-hypnosis.
Technically speaking, there is nothing that takes place during a structured hypnotherapy session that cannot be recreated elsewhere. There are countless resources and video tutorials online that are free to watch and use, covering everything needed to enter a hypnotic state at home.
The effectiveness of self-hypnosis varies from one person to the next, primarily on the basis of their perceptions of the concept. While the input of a trained professional can be extremely convincing, it can be slightly more difficult to convince yourself that your DIY hypnosis program is working.
Self-hypnosis can be combined with an occasional visit to a professional therapist if preferred but can be just as effective in its own right after getting to grips with the basics.
Treatment Vs Cure
Rounding things off, anyone considering hypnosis as a form of treatment for severe headaches or migraines needs to be mindful of the limitations of this kind of therapy.
Under no circumstances should hypnotherapy be misinterpreted as an outright ‘cure’ for anything. Hypnosis cannot and will not cure the underlying cause of the health problems you are suffering, whether they are physical or psychological in nature.
Instead, hypnosis should be viewed as a complementary treatment method – a way of managing and minimizing the unpleasant effects associated with headaches and migraines. Successful hypnosis can bring all types of physical pain and psychological health issues under control but is not capable of ‘curing’ the underlying cause.
Just as taking a painkiller will simply numb the discomfort you’re experiencing temporarily, hypnosis is more about managing symptoms than eradicating issues at their core.
For this reason, it is essential to seek expert medical advice before turning to hypnotherapy as an alternative to conventional medication or treatment.