The Mind-Body connection – an alternative way to control pain?

Four weeks on from an operation on my sinuses which had the potential to cure the constant migraines I have developed and I have to admit it was a failure. The migraines continue. Actually I should probably just say ‘migraine’ as it just one never ending one as far as I can tell (in medical speak it’s classed as a ‘transformed migraine’).

To say I am disappointed is an understatement. I tried not to get my hopes up too much but inevitably I was incredibly hopeful that going through general anaesthetic, two weeks off work, intense post operative pain and a big fatigue crash was all going to be worth it. At first I tried to convince myself that it was pain from the operation but deep down I knew that nothing had changed, the migraine still throbbed away and it was all for nothing (well, the fungal infection got cleared out at least which should avoid any issues with it in the future).

Post op recovery was tougher than expected

So I am back where I started, constant migraines that haven’t responded to any of the OTC, prescribed or alternative medications I have tried so far. Codeine, NSAIDS, triptans, amitriptyline, propranolol (a beta blocker), CBD oil, feverfew, a ton of supplements, a daith piercing, menthol oil, ice packs, heat packs and now Gabapentin (which comes with a serious anecdotal warning from a large community of people online due to potential side effects but I am risking it in case it actually works).

So far, however, even the new meds havent worked and I’m losing hope that anything actually will.

So I’m continuing with some of the approaches I mentioned in a previous post. I am using an app called Curable which is designed to help educate you on the reasons why chronic pain, including migraines, can occur and works you through a series of exercises to help retrain your brain into how you react to pain in the hope of decreasing it. The ideas behind it do make sense to me and I have found some of the pain reduction exercises useful. Now rather than focussing on the pain and feeling frustrated with it, I use distraction techniques or relaxation exercises to take my mind away from it and make sure I am not making it worse by the constant focus. The app also has some great meditations which I am finally getting more on board with.

Is it helping? I think it is. The pain is still there, still constant but I find I am mostly able to push it to one side and get on with my day, much better than I could before I started really using the techniques properly. The key with techniques like this, as I learned with hypnobirthing, was that you actually have to practice and commit to using them, for them to have a chance of working. You can’t just listen to a 10 minute audio lesson, understand the theory behind it, then not actually make any changes and expect it to work. I kind of took that approach when ‘studying’ hypnobirthing before the birth of my first child and was weirdly shocked when it didn’t actually work that well 🤔.

Is it the answer to all my pain issues? I dont think so. It’s keeping me functional, allowing me to work and spend time with the kids and socialise somewhat, but I’m always aware of it and by the end of the day the distractions start to fail and the pain really kicks in. The energy I’m expending trying to fight this whole thing is also increasing my fatigue I think. So I am still hunting for that illusive medication, injection, anything, that will dial the pain right down without the constant need to use these techniques and deal with the peaks I am still experiencing. Back to the neurologist in a few weeks in the hope of a miracle!

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