October 19, 2007

Migraines and NLP

Every four to six weeks I get a headache that lasts for several days. This has been going on for the past six years. Although I can still get my work done it is dreadfully painful. As I mentioned in an earlier post I went to the City of London Migraine Clinic and now I've been seeing a physiotherapist as well. What I've learned is that many "things" can trigger a migraine - food, posture, stress, muscles...almost anything. Usually a migraine is caused by a combination of these "things", there is no exact route.

The GP at the Migraine Clinic noticed that I have a very painful neck and recommended that I address this with my physiotherapist. When I told Michael he started feeling around my neck and noticed that it is hard as a brick with lots of little painful nubbies. Plus, he recognized that when he touched my neck it immediately turned red - a sign of lack of blood circulation. This was all very sobering and has helped me see the link between my physiology and the migraines.

Last night I took a risk. I always have an underlying headache and for once it didn't feel very strong. So, I had a glass of red wine and then sprawled out on the couch to watch TV with Stephen. My head was tweaking my neck in the exact bad position that I'm supposed to avoid. Did I get up? No, I kept laying there and then the red wine must have been the topper to trigger the migraine. All through my sleep I could feel it in my right eye/temple.

This morning when I awakened I tried all kinds of techniques to start to alleviate the pain. First I massaged my neck how Mike had instructed me to do. It helped a bit. Next I practiced yoga breathing in one nostril and out the other and then reversing the air flow. This too offered some help. Then I remembered the NLP techniques I learned a few weeks ago on my INLPA course. Instead of giving into the pain and creating more stress - evidenced by my neck being even tenser than normal - I started to pinpoint the pain, to give it shape, color. I envisioned the connection between my neck and the pain in my eye/temple.

Suddenly I felt the need to get out of bed and play this out. In our spare bedroom I stood by the window and started pulling the pain out of my head as though it were a series of wispy strings. It was in my hair, on my face, in my neck. Then it became a long rope that I kept pulling out faster and faster. I saw it as a big pile of knotted cables on the floor. I picked up the mass mess and threw it out the window.

Next I asked myself - what do I get by holding on to this headache? What does it do for me? I realized - nothing. I can let go. Six years of a giant knot is a lot to get rid of so I pulled some more of the rope out. Yes, there is still a headache but I feel like I control it instead of it controlling me. Instead of scrunching up in pain I am slowly releasing the tension every minute. It is a tremendous feeling.

Now I know this all sounds a bit like black magic stuff. But if you have the brainpower to create tension why not use those same powers for good instead of evil? This in combination with avoiding my triggers - bad posture, red wine...will allow me to address the situation proactively.

If anyone is interested in exploring some NLP techniques with me, I need the practice, please email me at amy@amykweskin.com.