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    Managing Chronic Migraines and Headaches

    By: Lexxy Trujillo, Masters Level Intern

    Chronic migraines and headaches are a common ailment that many silently suffer from. Navigating such chronic, “invisible” pains can be frustrating and seemingly fruitless. Due to exhaustion from constant dead ends and the pursuit of relief, people who suffer from this ailment often feel overwhelmed and directionless. Steps to take in tackling and strengthening motivation against this foe include:


    Stress Management

    Studies have shown that pain has both emotional and cognitive factors. Thus stress and other negative feelings have the power to amplify and increase the frequency of migraines. Learning coping skills and having outlets to manage stress and other negative feelings can have a positive impact in lessening the intensity of migraines when they occur as well as the quantity of one experiences. Coping skills, stress management, and chronic pain based concerns can be best learned and discussed with a skilled counselor. 


    Building a Support System

    Large components in the frustration of managing a chronic ailment are the feelings of being alone in the fight, being misunderstood, and having no resources. Building a support system can be a great resource in providing motivation, validation, and having an outlet. While family and friends are a great option, so are groups. Joining support groups or group therapy sessions that pertain specifically to chronic pain or chronic migraines can be a great form of support. In these experiences you can find validation, empathy, understanding, motivation, and possibly new alternative or complementary options to try.


    Exploring Alternative and Complementary

    A concern many who suffer from chronic migraines is that medicine either does not work or is not sufficient enough on it’s own. Exploring alternative or complementary options can greatly benefit those who find themselves in this position. Options that have benefited migraine sufferers include acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic therapy, nutritional supplements, and natural supplements. 


    Although the battle of managing chronic migraines may be frustrating and exhausting, it does not have to be lonely. Seeing a counselor skilled in the subject of chronic pain management can be very beneficial in learning how to cope and explore further options.

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    Kemper, K. J., & Breuner, C. C. (2010). Complementary, Holistic, and Integrative Medicine: Headaches. Pediatrics in Review,31(2). doi:10.1542/pir.31-2-e17

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