Saturday, October 12, 2013


This week, I started the psychological portion of my migraine therapy at the Northern California Headache Clinic.

I am learning biofeedback.

I'm pretty excited about this. Biofeedback is something I've been interested in learning since I was a kid. My mother always wanted me to learn it, in part because she thought I was a hypochondriac and thought it would give me a way to work through my anxiety or whatever was causing my symptoms.

Turns out, she may have been partly right-- biofeedback has been shown to be particularly effective in treating migraines. As it happens, it's also effective in treating anxiety, depression, and PTSD, so I'm thinking this will be a really great skill for me.

So far, all I've done is get three fingers hooked up to a computer, and slow my breaths to match a chart of my breathing to a metered chart on the screen.

I will go back for 6-8 sessions to learn the whole technique, and then I should be able to use it at home to do things like raise the internal temperature of my fingers (which, if I raise it by 3 degrees, has been proven to ward off migraines-- for realz! One of the symptoms of migraine is that your fingers get cold because the blood rushes to your head, so if you can force the blood back to your fingers, you can stop the migraine before it starts. Who knew?!).

Dr. Oz has also recommended Neurofeedback, which is biofeedback for the brain, as a particularly effective tool for anxiety. I plan to begin a course for that as soon as I finish regular biofeedback. I'm going to learn both techniques-- I figure I'll arm myself with the most effective non-medicinal tools while I'm doing all these medical tweaks. The sooner I can become independent of these meds, the happier I'll be.

Speaking of the meds, Cymbalta and I are not friends.

It's messing with my period. That seems unbelievably inappropriate to me, and has me completely freaked out. I would like to maintain the illusion that I am not poisoning my entire system with this shit, thank you. So when unrelated functions start freaking out, so do I. Not cool, Cymbalta. Not cool.

However, it sure is making my back feel better.

Then again, I just feel... sick. All the time. This stuff makes me feel sick. It sucks. Except for the part where it makes my back feel batter than it has in years-- if not decades-- it sucks. 

So it's back to the drawing board, to tweak and sample and keep on trying to find the right fit. Ugh.


I need to find a new cocktail. Don't know what or how, but I need to. A friend of mine has recommended a psychopharmacologist, which seems like a really great idea, so I may try that instead of an MD or psychiatrist for my meds going forward.

I just want to get back to normal and be off meds for good.

Anyway, that's what's going on. Good implications for migraines, depression, anxiety, and PTSD with the bio- and neuro-feedback. I'll keep you posted. These two things together may spell the real end of the medical drama for me, eventually. 

In the meantime, I'm still med-shopping and suffering the consequences of an incorrect combo.

Working on it. Always working on it.

Wish me luck. I'll let you know how it goes.

1 comment:

  1. Go Kate! My mom used Biofeedback for Raynaud's disease (syndrome?) - where the primary symptom is blood leaving the fingers/extremities and turning them bluish-white and painfully numb in response to stress or cold...which sounds related to what you'll be doing with it. I didn't know the link between cold fingers and migraines! My mom was so successful with it that the symptoms stopped happening; I'm pretty sure she didn't have to keep consciously redirecting, she more or less reprogrammed herself. So work it, 'cause I've seen it work! I'm rooting for you to find those really effective non-medicinal tools! Speaking of which, the wikipedia article on Raynaud's I just cruised didn't refer to biofeedback at all, just drugs and Botox (!) and surgery to cut the nerves (!!!) I may have to dig out my wiki login: the world must be edited!