by Declan Twohig and Chet Day from The Rea Centre Collection: A Work in Progress
There seem to be an awful lot of inquiries recently on the subject of headaches.
We have to say that if a person is concerned that the headaches are abnormal and uncharacteristic that they need to visit their own doctor for a check up.
Having said that, very few headaches actually fall into this category of seriousness as evidenced, for instance by the sales of over-the-counter headache medication, and the fact that in the USA alone, 45 million people report having regular headaches requiring analgesics.
We are uneasy about the automatic response of reaching for a packet of tablets because not only are many very powerful drugs in their own right, but...
Some OTC medications have side effects more serious than the headache; regular use of these products can actually create headaches; headaches are a symptom of something going on. And if you take a closer look, there can be better ways of dealing with headaches than taking a pill. It's very common for people to say that they have "migraines," but this isn't quite as common as many assume, and it's far more frequently confused with other types of headache.
Headaches can be defined into some specific group types that are quite characteristic.
Chronic tension headaches can come from an overload of stress or from being fatigued, but more often they come from physical problems, from psychological and emotional issues, or from depression.
Cluster headaches come in groups of 1-4 a day in a set cluster period that may be a matter of days but can extend to months.
Hormonal headaches have a similarity to migraines in that they affect only one side of the head and frequently are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to lights and noise.
Sinus headaches can be experienced after a cold or condition that causes a sinus infection.
And the rarest are the organic headaches stemming from a skull or brain abnormality -- benign or malignant tumors, aneurisms, meningitis, brain abscess, infection, or encephalitis.
Diaphragmatic breathing is a good way of relieving headaches. So too is the imaging of colors and temperatures.
Here's how to do it: Imagine yourself in a bubble of light: purple, violet, or blue are good ones to experiment with, and then simply imagine that the light can seep through the skin into the cells of the whole body, lifting away the pain, and changing temperature to suit the occasion, either an experience of warmth or cold.
Next. You simply imagine your right hand placed in a bucket of ice water. Really cold ice water, so of course it will feel as though it has lost all sensation and gone numb -- without the painful bit of an actual pail of ice.
When the hand is completely anaesthetized, simply rub it over the affected headache area and feel the numbing effect transferring from hand to pain, and the numbed hand restored to normal. This normally works well with one application, but there is nothing to stop you repeating it.
This "cold hand" is one of the simplest of pain control techniques and is good for minor cramps, bumps, and bruises as well.
There's a variant called the "inner pharmacy" that works brilliantly for some willing to play what seems to be a nonsense game. To do this one, imagine going into an old fashioned pharmacy of the mind where your subconscious stores all its remedies.
Visualize a gorgeous, old-fashioned, dark place that smells wonderful and has those old mahogany drawers and counter tops and shelves of brown, blue and green bottles containing different draughts or pills.
You just look over the shelves and pick the bottle that starts twinkling like a Christmas tree light. Either swallow one -- only one -- of the tablets inside or pour a liquid dose into the medicine glass thoughtfully left on the counter for you. You can even visualize a water bottle there for those who need liquid to swallow a pill. Who says placebo effect doesn't work?
Your subconscious can't tell the difference, so the imaged medication will frequently work much faster and more effectively than a pharmaceutical with no side effects.
How about another ancient pain control technique?
Relaxation techniques are often useful, especially if you can get hold of one of those little biofeedback meters that tells you when you're "stressed" or "relaxed" so you get to feel the difference.
Additionally, you may need to eat something, or get some sleep, or check your posture and the chairs you are sitting on for extended periods.
It may sound like a ghastly idea, but a few swift minutes of vigorous exercise can set up enough biochemical changes to erase a simple headache.
And now you have a number of methods that you can try as an alternative to popping a pill.