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Migraines and Tension Headaches - Help Please!!!

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by AutumnIsMyFave, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. AutumnIsMyFave

    AutumnIsMyFave Peer Supporter

    Hi Everyone and Happy Holidays!

    I've been working on this TMS stuff for what seems like quite a long time now - about a year and a half. I've had some successes which have been really encouraging, but it seems like as I have successes I also get new symptoms. My Symptom Imperitives seem to be in overdrive :). Right now one of my many new symptoms is a feeling of a ton of pressure/tightness in my face (nose, forehead, across my cheeks) and tension headaches across both sides of my head and it even travels into my one ears at times. Of course these trigger one of my biggest TMS symptoms, which is migraines. Of course, it is really freaking me out, as it is a new kind of headache and the way that my brain works, I of course fear the absolute worst.

    I have had migraines since I was about 5 years old. This has been the most stubborn symptom of mine to have success with. It seems like the neural pathways are so established that they just won't budge at all. I have tried many different techniques to get rid of the migraines - yelling at my brain to stop it and telling myself that it is just TMS, being compassionate with myself, trying to just observe the pain objectively, etc. I am currently working with a TMS therapist out of the Pain Psychology Center and he has been working with me on my fear as he feels that until I deal with my fear (of many things) my migraines could continue.

    My questions are:

    1) Has anyone had pressure in their face, which travels into their head and becomes a tension headache? Has anyone had success getting rid of tension headaches? The tension headache that I have right now has set in for over a week and will not go away and is triggering almost daily migraines which makes things extra fun :).

    2)Has anyone had success getting rid of their migraines? If so, I would LOVE to hear about the techniques that you used to get rid of them. I honestly don't know what else to do and sometimes almost don't remember what life is like without a migraine.

    Any help with the tension headaches/migraines would be greatly appreciated. I am a busy mom of 2 young kids and life is hard enough without all of this chronic pain.

    Thank you! I am very grateful for finding this forum, you guys are the best!!
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I had migraines since 4 years old, but was able to totally eliminate them a few years ago using TMS techniques. I wrote about it my Success Story, which you can find on my profile page or in the Success Stories sub-forum. I listed all the techniques I used to recover from TMS, so hopefully it will be helpful to you.

    It doesn't seem to matter how long you have had a symptom in terms of how long it takes to recover. I had mine over 50 years, and there were times when they were chronic. Like you I often had pain along my sinuses that would turn into a migraine. I tried many other treatments, but the TMS approach worked very well.

    It's great that you're working with the Pain Psychology Clinic. I did it alone with the help of Schubiner's program and this Forum.

    You're in the right place. Migraines are TMS. Just be patient and try to relax as you go through treatment. It will come together for you with persistence and commitment.
  3. AutumnIsMyFave

    AutumnIsMyFave Peer Supporter

    Thank you Ellen. I actually read your success story early on and found it very helpful with some of my pain! I read it again now and there are some very good reminders for me in there for me. It is weird - I have had improvement with a lot of my pain. Migraines are the most stubborn and now with these tension headaches they have gotten worse, not better. Was there anything for your migraines specifically that you found really helped? I too get migraines with weather changes, but also from so many other triggers as well. I will try to tell myself that there is no reason why weather changes, hormones, stress, sleep deprivation, etc. should give me a migraine or tension headache, but that doesn't seem to work. I feel like I am close, but just can't get there unfortunately. It is quite frustrating! Thank you again for your response, it is appreciated!!
    Ellen likes this.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think the most helpful thing has been the technique of having the rational, conscious part of our brain override the primitive, unconscious brain. Sarno called this using a "top down" strategy. But it takes persistence and consistency. At the earliest sign of a migraine coming on (notice what these are for you), I tell my brain very firmly that there is no good reason for a migraine and that I'm willing to look at my emotions. Then I forget about it, and next time I notice, the pre-migraine symptoms are gone and no migraine developed. Of course, for this to work you have to be sincere about being willing to face your emotions. This gets easier with practice, which is why I think journaling is helpful. Lay it all out there on the page and feel the feelings. This lessens the fear of them over time and teaches your brain that you no longer need repression and the distraction of TMS.

    Hang in there! If I can recover from migraines, anyone can. You can too!
  5. AutumnIsMyFave

    AutumnIsMyFave Peer Supporter

    Thanks Ellen and Happy New Year! I have tried this and it doesn't seem to work. Maybe I need to keep trying. I feel like I am really looking at my emotions, but maybe I am missing something big or important, I don't know. Occasionally I can get an impending migraine to go away. The really tricky ones are the ones that I wake up with in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning when they are well past the point of talking myself out of. I feel like I am missing something and I just don't know what it is. I do appreciate your feedback and support though, so thank you. It is encouraging to see others who have had success.
  6. Ines

    Ines Well known member


    I had chronic migraine and tension headaches as well. I had a lot of other TMS related problems but migraines ruled my life for 6 1/2 years.

    When I first started the TMS approach I used to think I was doing it wrong or not well enough because I couldn't talk myself out of it or dig deep enough. Just remember that when you think like that you are judging yourself. It's this fine line between "go ahead and come, I can handle it" and "don't even think about hurting right now." If your brain knows you are not scared, they will become less and less. If you start feeling one and judge yourself, it's sure to keep coming. Just keep calm and sort of detach and observe yourself for a while. Observe the pain coming. Almost like you're hovering over yourself in life. Observe your personality, your pain, and just observe, don't judge. But, notice how you pressure yourself, how you talk to yourself, watch the fear set it when you feel that pain come. Don't bully yourself, love yourself. Keep practicing every day. Find techniques to help calm yourself and love yourself. Maybe even make some changes in your life. I stopped feeling guilty for not being perfect. I stopped being so nice and stopped talking to myself so harshly.

    I kept digging deeper and trying to break the conditioning (mostly food and PMS that I thought were triggers). That took over a year. The migraines went down from about 3 per week with some form of a headache every day to 3 per month! I also had crazy neck pain and anxiety. The neck pain was gone, my allergies were gone, asthma was gone, and constipation was gone. Anxiety lessened but still hung around. I knew I was on the right track but something was missing.

    Then, Alan Gordon's program came out and I did that. It was the missing link. It mostly focused on fear. I realized that I was constantly scanning. When I'd wake up in the morning I'd have about 3 seconds of no pain and then there it would come. Once I worked on the fear I had no migraine or headache for 2 straight months.

    It's been about 1 year and 7 months total and I don't really think about migraines any more. The last one I got was around Christmas when I had a sinus cold. When I do get one though they're not unbearable where I'm crying and screaming. I just lay with an ice pack, take the meds and it usually goes away pretty quickly. I'm sure in time they'll be gone altogether.

    If you wake up in the middle of the night or in the morning, just observe and say ok here it is. Step 1, ice pack, Step 2 meds.. etc. Just go through your steps. Don't fear it. You will not die. Don't judge. Breathe and stay calm. Then, when it goes away do something nice for yourself. Relax or watch a good movie. Eventually, they will lessen. I promise. The more you fear them and judge yourself the more your brain is controlling you.

    I have symptom imperative too right now. Gastritis is trying to control my life. It feels like my stomach hurts all the time. I did have facial pain too when my migraines were bad. The ones by my eyes hurt really bad. Sometimes I get random pains in my shoulder, head, feet or face, but they usually go away.

    Let me know what you think or how it's going.
    StarCluster, plum and Ellen like this.
  7. AutumnIsMyFave

    AutumnIsMyFave Peer Supporter

    Thank you so much for your response Ines! So much of this really resonates with me - even the body scan that I do every morning without even realizing that is what I am doing :). I had a migraine last night and it was pretty far gone by the time I read your post, but I really tried to notice everything about what I was feeling and how I was responding to the pain. I didn't realize how negative/hard on myself I can tend to be with this pain, but you are right - I think I am quite judgemental about all of it without realizing it. I feel like this will take a lot of practice as I dread the pain of my migraines and find it so intense sometimes it is hard to think when I have one. Everything that you are saying makes sense though. My TMS therapist thinks fear is a huge component of what I am struggling with, which makes complete sense to me. Thank you for your insight into how you dealt with your migraines! I know everyone's journey through this is different, but I find it really helpful to see how other people had success in overcoming their pain. I really hope I can have the same success one day!!
    Ines likes this.
  8. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    You will have success. It will lessen. I promise.
    Keep me posted. You can message me if you want to talk.
  9. AutumnIsMyFave

    AutumnIsMyFave Peer Supporter

    Thanks Ines, I appreciate that. I will probably take you up on that :)
  10. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    Ellen, I remember having your success story printed out and I read it quite often. It really helped me a lot. :)
    Ellen likes this.
  11. embodydami

    embodydami New Member

    Hello! I realize this post was added a while back and Im not sure if things have changed for you ( hopefully they have ! ) but I wanted to drop in and offer something either way. I am currently dealing with healing from chronic headaches and have also have had migraines since I was 5 years old. I recently started digging deeper and trying to figure out what was happening when I was 5 and why I may have manifested the first ever migraine. Through talking with both my parents, It surfaced that my mom was having an emotional affair with this other man, whom I would have playdates with his daughter. I must have sensed that something was happening between then and feared my family would get torn apart. Subconsciously I believe that I created a problem (the migraine) as a means to bring my parents back together to fix it. And Im sure it worked. I was having them multiple times a week to the point where my parents got an MRI done because they thought I may have had a brain tumor. Although the pain served me in that time, I never taught my mind that it served its purpose and I don't need it anymore, thus suffering from migraines for 20 years. Now I am doing work to re-identify as someone without migraines or headaches! and journaling around the truth that its not serving me anymore. I think uncovering the reason as to why the first one happened, if you can, is extremely liberating.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  12. Duggit

    Duggit Well known member

    I have never had a migraine, but here is what Sarno wrote in The Mindbody Prescription about his own migraines:

    As a young doctor in family practice with the usual stresses and strains of work and family, I suffered from migraines for about six years. A colleague told me of a medical paper he had read suggesting that migraine headache was the result of repressed anger. . . . When next the premonitory “lights” began, I sat down and thought about what anger I might be repressing. Years later it is clear to me what I was repressing, but at the time I had no idea. However, to my astonishment, the headache never came. Nor have I ever had another migraine headache, though I have continued to have the “dancing lights” to this day. The “lights” tell me that I am repressing anger, and sometimes I have to think very hard to figure out the reason for the anger. Often it is obvious.
    So it seems Sarno initially had the "book cure," where it was enough simply to accept that his migraines were psychological, but thereafter he apparently found it important to think about (and identity) the exact reason for his unconscious anger, just as he did to deal successfully with his other recurrent symptom of heartburn that he talks about in Healing Back Pain and The Divided Mind.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  13. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is an awesome insight. And it just goes to show how important it is to be willing to go a long way back.

    For the benefit of others who might read this, it's important to understand that the things your brain started repressing early in childhood don't even need to be this traumatic. The things I uncovered were fairly typical moments of childhood shame and guilt - not even close to being as significant as what @embodydami uncovered. Yet that's what our primitive brains do, and it is a very normal function (although perhaps not very well-designed, LOL!). I think that what we are experiencing in the modern world is that our lives are much longer and way more complicated than those of our primitive ancestors, so all kinds of incidents and weird-ass stuff just builds and build and the repression mechanism goes into overdrive for many of us, especially if compounded by anxiety.
  14. embodydami

    embodydami New Member

    This is super true!! Like in the documentary "Heal" when the woman uncovers that she was holding onto a memory from childhood where she brought graham crackers as a snack to school and everyone else brought more elaborate snacks. That gets me every time. I can think of so many moments like that as a child
    jimmylaw9 and JanAtheCPA like this.
  15. jimmylaw9

    jimmylaw9 Peer Supporter

    Hi yes absolutely I had a really stressful period 3 months ago and had increasing headaches for weeks finally crushing blinding migraines. They lasted three months with little respite. I finally broke down when I realised the pressure stress I was under. I must add that I did not recognise I was I just felt I was dealing with it all.
    I started reading all the success stories n following basic advice rest relax meditate reduce the matters that were causing tension face my problems rather than running away. Stop saying yes to everybody re work and stripping my life back to basics. I’m building back up from there. My tension headaches were blinding totally blinding they have now almost gone. Minor a 1 compared to 9/10 pain. I’m not out the woods yet but I never thought I’d get here either. I’m so thankful of this site. One thing that did help was syndol. No other meds worked including prescription but they did. Not on their own but in conjunction with the above. Have faith I wish you will hope this helped

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