Do you get migraines? I do and it sucks! My earliest memory of what I now know was migraine was when I was about 7 years old. I remember telling my parents that my head hurt really bad and I cried big alligator tears while crawling into bed. My mom had Migraine, so she understood, and my dad just rubbed my head and told me stories until I passed out. It was the first in a LONG line of many days ruined by migraine – which is more than a headache, it’s a neurological condition without a cure (at least not yet). But this isn’t a sob story about migraine, friends. We all have our s*** to deal with. This is about how having the right set of tools can change not only your experience with pain but also your experience living with pain.
"Migraine is an episodic primary headache disorder. Symptoms typically last 4 to 72 hours and may be severe. Pain is often unilateral, throbbing, worse with exertion, and accompanied by symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to light, sound, or odors."
- Merck Manual
Thankfully it seems like every day I find new research supporting the use of meditation, breathing (pranayama) and yoga postures for migraine management. Although I truly believe the proof is in the pudding (you'll feel the benefits after consistently doing yoga), having this research is beneficial if for no other reason than allowing medical professionals to feel legit in recommending yoga as part of a patient's wellness plan. In fact, this article from Migraine Again highlighted research on patients who added yoga to their treatment plan and noted that "The group who practiced yoga experienced a significant decrease in the frequency and intensity of their Migraine attacks and had fewer headache days." This study provided support for combining migraine medication with yoga to improve the effectiveness of the treatment plan. Basically, you can apply yoga techniques to your lifestyle for less frequent and/or intense migraine attacks whether or not you use medication.
After 20 years of living with migraine, I finally found the tools that helped me manage them. I went from almost daily migraines to migraines 1-2 times a quarter with help from my BFF – yoga. A couple months of consistent vinyasa classes with breath work and meditation not only got me back in shape, but helped relieve my stress and change my migraine experience. Now, I share yoga techniques with other migraineurs to hopefully change their lives too. Can I guarantee it will work? No. But, imagine if you had even one less migraine or your migraines were even 10% less intense. I think that’s worth giving it a try. If you do too, check out my on-demand video library with access to migraine-friendly yoga, breathing and meditation classes!
About the Author:
Tiffany Lord is a private yoga coach, founder of Love + Asana and resident instructor for the International Headache Center. Her passion is helping people reconnect to their bodies for more strength, flexibility and confidence with a personalized approach to movement & mindfulness. She truly believes whether you feel "out of shape" from persistent pain, past injuries or a stressful life change, you can feel better and live the life you want with yoga.