Migraine isn’t a life threatening illness but the symptoms are always unpleasant and sometimes incapacitating. If attacks of migraine occur frequently, sufferers lose time from work and miss out on activities with family and friends. About 1 in 10 people have migraine at some time in their lives, so it’s a common condition.

What are the symptoms of migraine?

The usual symptoms of an attack are a throbbing headache, nausea and feelings of increased sensitivity to light and noise. In some people, the attacks are accompanied or preceded by disturbances of vision. They see stars or dots or zigzag lines in front of their eyes.  Others experience feelings of numbness or tingling in a part of the body. Some sufferers feel limp and washed out for several days after the attack is over.

What causes migraine?

Migraine often runs in families and it’s likely that part of the cause is genetic. But  nobody knows  why some people tend to get attacks while others don’t, or why attacks are especially frequent and  troublesome at some times and not others.  A few migraine sufferers are able to identify things that reliably trigger an attack. They know, for instance, that, if they eat chocolate or drink a glass of red wine, they will end up with a migraine. But for most people, attacks of migraine come out of the blue and can’t be predicted.

Almost everyone, doctors and sufferers alike, agrees that stress is strongly connected to migraine. Most people with migraine notice that their attacks become more frequent or more severe when they are under pressure. And a few find that, having coped successfully with a stressful situation, they have an attack when they are at last able to relax. Sometimes the link between stress and migraine becomes a vicious circle when the disappointments and frustrations of having to live with the condition contribute to the stress.

Is there a cure?

There is no once and for all cure for migraine. There are however, a number of drug treatments that can help stop an attack or prevent attacks occurring in the first place. Your doctor will be able to advise which of the treatments is likely to best for you. Some people find these treatments very effective but, unfortunately, they don’t work for everyone. And some people, understandably enough, don’t like the idea of taking tablets.

What can I do to make a difference?

While it’s only sensible to get medical advice about your migraine, you can make a big difference yourself. One thing to do is to ask yourself some questions about how you lead your life. Are you coping with the stress or are the migraine attacks a sign that you are letting it get on top of you? Try to identify ‘triggers’ – some foods, overwork, the environment – and avoid them.

  • The most basic and important step is to learn to relax properly.
  • Use techniques to help if you feel yourself becoming over-anxious.
  • Check for tension in your body throughout the day, try to avoid pressure building up.
  • Check out your Mental Attitudes - how realistic are your worries?

How can Relaxation for Living & More help you?

Our Relaxation and Stress Management short courses with simple self-help techniques can help you to relax and to deal with stress and worries better.

Contact us via our Contacts page to see if there is a local RFLI teacher near you to attend one of their courses.

Alternatively you could try our DVD or CD products which include tension easing exercises and relaxation techniques to help.