3 steps to recognise & relieve headaches, eye-strain and migraines.
Early in my adult life, I used to crumble under the weight of migraine headaches quite regularly. So intense were they, and so often did they happen, that my doctor was at a loss with what to do with me. His last ditch effort was to prescribe a cure-all tablet. Otherwise known as the heavy-weight championship knock-you-out tablet.
My doctor had to ring a regulatory government body for authorisation to prescribe the tablets, which came in a pack of two only. He then instructed me to take one the moment I felt the onset of a migraine coming on. So, the next time I felt the rumble of the migraine train chugging down the tracks towards my head, I took the tablet. Within moments, that tablet rendered me unconscious for nearly 24 hours. It was essentially a self-induced mini-coma.
After I awoke, I realised I didn’t consciously suffer the migraine pain, but I did miss out on an entire day of my life. I remember thinking that blotting out a day in my life wasn’t the way I wanted to manage migraines. So what did I do?
At some point or other in life, everyone experiences some form of eye-strain, headache or migraine. Now, I knew I wasn’t going to obliterate their existence totally in my life, but I was sure going to take stock at whatever it was I was doing that kept them coming back!
So, if you’re in the same situation as I was nearly 15 years ago, then it’s time to take stock on what you’re doing (or not doing) that could be getting you aboard that painful journey to headache land. Here are some common contributing factors to consider and get rid of:
- What medications are you on? Some drugs can alter your chemistry to the point where your body can’t regulate itself properly – the headache is a sign that something’s wrong and needs to change. I’m not saying to not take prescriptions, I’m just saying, look into what medications you’re taking and check with your doctor if they’re causing your headaches.
- What’s your posture like for a majority of the day? If you answered anything other than, “pretty darn good” – then it’s time you start correcting it. Now, like right now. Why does posture matter? If your slouch down in a chair, lean forward at your desk, hang your head over your shoulders (as many people do as they walk and look at their smart phones), or any combination of those postures or similar – you’re putting significant and constant strain on your shoulders and neck muscles. As they hold tight like a stretched rubber band for hours on end, the muscles in your head get tight too. As the muscles that wrap around your head, scalp and eyes get weary under that tight unnatural stance – guess what? Migraine train.
- Do you hydrate your body with enough water? You’ve heard it a million times from other reputable sources already, but I will say it again here: our bodies are a majority water. If you dry out the ocean, there’s nothing left. Sure, coffee, colas and juices are liquid, but they aren’t water. Unless its a non-caffeinated herbal tea, water is the only way to keep your body truly hydrated. Not enough hydration can lead to significant headaches and migraines.
- Are you getting enough soul-serving nutrients in your body? In our fast paced world, eating on the go is sometimes the only way we can refuel, but often times that ‘fast food’ is only filling up a void and not nourishing your body. Without the right balance of nutrients, how can we expect our bodies to operate properly? It would be like filling your car’s tank up with pineapple juice, then wondering why it won’t start. You can’t fill up your body’s tank with the wrong fuel and expect it to run correctly now can you?
- Do you look at a screen or work under fluorescent lights for more than a couple hours at a time? Your eyeballs are controlled by little muscles in your head so you can look around this wonderful world. Focus in on a single thing (like a computer screen) for too long a period, then those little muscles just hold, hold, hold in the same position for hours on end. No wonder they get tired and start contorting your eyes, making your vision blurry and head hurty.
- In your off-time, do you spend much of it looking at your smart phone, computer or television? You’re getting my point now I think…yes?
I’m not saying what I’ve just described is the only way migraines come about, but there are probably a few things I’ve mentioned which are relevant to your situation. I haven’t had a migraine in years. And for those of you who suffer from them, imagine that! Migraine free years! How is that even possible?
By recognising and eliminating the contributing factors, then keeping that noggin of yours relaxed. Yes it takes a little bit of getting used to, but it’s worth doing!
To keep myself off the migraine train tracks, I do these simple eye-strain relief exercises:
- Become Aware & Change It. The key here is to be aware of the contributing factor (or factors) that’s aiding the formation of your headache. Recognise it and change the behaviour or pattern to slow down the pace and turn it around. So, stop whatever it is you’re doing, close your eyes and breathe deeply.
- Relax & Stretch. Now, roll your shoulders forward, then backward. Gently stretch your neck by tilting your head to the left and the right. Close your eyes, and breathe for a few seconds with them shut. When you reopen them, roll your eyes around gently in all directions.
- Re-hydrate & Rest. Ensure you’re hydrated and nourished and now take a couple of minutes to rest – break that tight posture you’ve been in for who knows how long.
Of course, I’d like to caution that if you’re on the verge of a migraine (and you know when you are – often times every light is too bright, every noise is too loud, and you feel physically sick), the best thing to do is to stop what you’re doing, then lie down somewhere dark and rest.
But for all those other situations, if you can recognise the contributing factor, remove it from your routine (or at least break away from it for a little while), and rest – you’re well and truly on your way to controlling your own body.
Speaking of, I’d like to take a moment to remind that this glorious life is a continual balance of mind, body and soul. Just remember, the spiritual house you’re travelling in (aka. your body) deserves your awareness, your care, and your love. Until next time my friends, namaste xo.