This week (September 24-30) is Migraine Awareness Week run by The Migraine Trust, a UK-based charity that helps people living with migraines.
1 in 7 people live with migraines on a regular basis.
This week is about building awareness for those who suffer from migraines and how they can find a solution. Gone are the days when we refer to a migraine as ‘just a headache’ and this week we focus on giving it the recognition it deserves.
It’s not ‘just a headache’ and if you’ve ever experienced a migraine you know it can cause severe discomfort and pain. It has a significant impact on your daily life and mental health.
There are different kinds of migraines, yet one thing is consistent: migraines generally start as a headache and build from there. Triggers can include stress, lack of sleep, hormones, and food allergies or sensitivities.
One of the things we hear most regularly from people suffering from migraines who start a Somatic Movement practice is that they finally feel empowered to manage their condition, or in some cases leave it behind for good.
Here’s a story from Isa Berg, CCSE (one of our Clinical Practitioners), who used to suffer from migraines:
My migraine attacks started at the age of 18 and since that day I have had between 0 and 5 attacks a year. It started with that aura for about 30 minutes, followed by some other symptoms such as speech disorders, tingling fingers, memory problems, and headaches for sure.
I did a lot of research about the reasons, but nobody really could give me an answer. I never knew when the next one was coming, I never had any “warning“ signals and I couldn’t find an underlying pattern.
So since I didn’t get a satisfactory answer, it left me in a state of insecurity, anxiety and so for sure a lot of tension/tightness throughout my body. I started to be less alive because I was always asking myself what would happen if I would get an attack when I was alone in the car, or hiking somewhere in the mountains… My fear started to take control. Most of all I felt helpless because I didn’t know what to do to prevent them.
So I took matters into my own hands and here’s what I figured out for myself. Thanks to these approaches, it’s been four years (and counting!) since I had my last migraine attack.
Now, I think it’s a combination of a lot of things happening with and into your body and to find a solution starts with a good basic nutrition and ends up for sure being aware of yourself and finding solutions to deal with daily stressors and reduce tension throughout your body.
- My Somatic Movement practice!
I identify with the “dark vise” – I was someone who never stopped, my brain was constantly active and working (green light) and I was also really scared because of the experience of having migraines, and I wanted to protect myself (red light). When I did get an attack, it left me feeling really stressed and tight so I used my Somatic Movement practice to start releasing this dark vise pattern, and to feel more “alive“ and free much quicker after an attack. I finally felt empowered by having the ability to take back control myself.
- Being aware of yourself and your sensations to spot things that don’t agree with you
Being more aware of yourself leads you to being more aware of your nutrition intake too. In my case, I loved drinking coffee but being honest with myself I found out that my body does not like it, so I gave it up.
Since maintaining a regular Somatic Movement practice and no longer drinking coffee I have had no more migraine attacks.
Clinical Somatic Education is about discovering that you have the power to make changes. From a somatic perspective, the more awareness we have of stress building up in our lives and showing up in our bodies, the more ability we have to do something about it.