Could Meditation Help Combat Headache
There are days when nothing is worse than that constant, recurring,
day-ruining headache. Although there are different types of headaches,
each with a distinct pathologic source, mind-body therapies such as
hypnosis, meditation,and biofeedback therapy have been shown to be
beneficial in reducing headaches of all types. Please note these treatments
are for patients with primary headaches and not for those whose headaches
are due to another underlying disease,tumors, or medications.
The most common type of headache is a tension headache, which is a chronic
headache that occurs in the head, scalp, or neck, and is often
associated with muscle tightness in the affected areas. Meditation can
help to ease the tension in affected areas and thus reduce headache.
In migraines, meditation and relaxation has been shown to be
effective in reducing chronic pain. According to a
study, almost 3/4 of patients with chronic pain who practiced
meditation reported significant reductions in their pain.
Dr. Astin’s study in the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute showed,”relaxation and thermal biofeedback may be
considered as a treatment for recurrent migraine while relaxation and
muscle biofeedback can be an effective adjunct or stand alone therapy
for recurrent tension headache.” This is the time to give credit
to mind-body therapies rather than giving NSAID’s (non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs) or narcotics to people with recurring headaches.
Interestingly, even in people with no underlying organic causes for
headache, practicing mindful meditation is shown to be a medically
superior and cost-effective alternative to pain medication for the
control of headaches. Meditation can be done anytime, anywhere,
which is often much more available than medications.
Biofeedback must be taught, once learned and practiced it can be done
on your own in most cases.
For every problem there is more than one cure, it’s important to
research and find what works best for you, and your headache.