Posted 1/29/2009 2:16 AM (GMT -7)
I recently read "Behavioral Management of Headache", a chapter in Wolff's Headache and Other Head Pain (a particularly authoritative text on headache disease through and through). I have the 7th edition--there's been an eighth released since this was published in 2001 but I was able to get it for about a quarter of the cost of the new one. In my edition it's chapter 26. It's largely written as a guide for practitioners but there's a ton of great material. It goes into depth about many non-drug treatments such as Relaxation Training, Biofeedback, Cognitive Behavioral therapy (*note: I highly recommend therapists associated with the Beck Institute, named after the father of modern behavioral therapy; if you aren't familiar, cog-behav is very different from psychoanalysis--you won't spend much time talking about your feelings but instead analyze the actions you take and the way you problem solve and deal with stress*), self-help, headache management, keeping a headache diary and related homework assignments and more. It also discusses alternative medicine.
Fact is, if you have chronic or more frequent headaches, most likely you can deal with them more effectively. Especially since it's so easy to feel powerless. So even if you've tried some of these things already (as had/have I), you can really help yourself if you're willing to put your energy into making your life, day by day, better, rather than putting all your hope in the search for a "cure".
Anyhow, here's a link to an excerpt, from amazon's preview feature: http://www.amazon.com/gp/sitbv3/reader?asin=0195326563&pageid=S0GB&checkSum=PV%20hUyNOnrLGfOnRj8mgsQfQq2uffTdSli1qnApf22A=
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This is particularly personally relevant to me because, as anyone who has read my posts over the last few months may have noticed, I have been talking a lot about approaching my migraine treatment differently. My searing head pain hasn't stopped once in more than 6 years now and, up until recently, that's prevented me from doing very much of anything. My focus has been making lifestyle changes: having pursued almost literally every migraine treatment available I'm not focusing so much on getting rid of the headaches but learning to lead a better life WITH them.
This is nothing groundbreaking but I do feel that many people with intractable migraines like me have a very difficult time and, short of a miracle cure, things can seem so hopeless that there hardly seems to be a point in trying. For years I felt utterly beaten. Even though I had had good times mixed in with the bad I always ended up back in bed crying with a pillow over my head. I really thought that nothing that I could do would make any difference. It wasn't optimism that allowed me to become dedicated to making things work but more the realization that it didn't matter how strong the obstacle I face is. Even if it were certainly insurmountable and all my efforts had failed (which they had), allowing things to stay even a hairwidth worse than they can be is tantamount to giving up--and I have thought about giving up. But I won't let my life end, so I am trying to move forward.
We frequently develop habits that make things worse because our lives can seem so out of control. The only path that has shown any real promise has been making some very difficult lifestyle changes with cognitive behavioral therapy to helps me find strategies to make these awful things as much less awful as possible.
Well, sorry that I'm so wordy--I'm having major issues with keeping my thoughts cohesive/concise and remembering words is a nightmare. But I'm getting a little better. But my thoughts are with you all.