The cause of migraines is still not well understood - despite migraines being one of the most widespread chronic pain conditions. Migraines are blamed on many different factors including:
- Family history of migraines
- Hormonal changes
- Foods, drinks or additives
- Changes in sleep pattern
- Changes in environment
- and more...
Whatever it is that causes your migraines, we know that the more often migraines occur, the better your brain (and all the neural pathways within it) get at creating the pain experience again.
The patterns of a migraine attack can become ingrained and conditioned, to the point where migraines become chronic. Our brain and nervous system become sensitized to potential threat, and that results in more pain more often.
This pain sensitization (also known as central sensitization) can occur anytime in life, although migraines are most common in the 30 to 40 age group. And at least 90% of people with migraine experience a first attack before the age of 40.
The pain sensitization can occur as early as childhood. In fact, there are now many studies (like this, this and this) that show individuals who report having experienced adverse childhood events (such as neglect, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, or sexual abuse) are considerably more likely to experience migraines in adulthood than those who have had carefree childhoods.
As migraines become more ‘wired’, your brain can get stuck in a set of bad behaviors that sets off a migraine.
Let’s take this example. You might wake up a few hours early because of a barking dog. That gets you feeling groggy. You then realize what a busy day lies ahead of you. This combo of events sets off fear and expectation of a migraine.
Your brain responds to these thoughts and set of events the same way it has been for so long: with a migraine.
Pain researchers understand this well, but many patients and even some health professionals don’t.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. If you or someone you know is affected by migraines, there’s hope. The central sensitization process can be reversed – in part or completely. A variety of methods have been proven to work.
The first place to start is with easy-to-understand pain science education – knowing what’s really going on in your brain and body when you feel pain often leads to less pain-anxiety, and therefore less pain.
The next step is to equip patients with proven tools and techniques that break the cycle of pain and relax the nervous system when it matters most.
When we change thoughts and behaviours we know increase pain, that often leads to a significant reduction in pain attacks long-term. Plus, there’s clinical evidence that all of the following also contribute to pain relief – from diaphragmatic breathing, mindfulness, meditation, self-help physio, exercise, and the list goes on. There is hope for pain patients.
Our pain relief program is designed to take chronic pain suffers through just that – an interactive journey where they learn proven, evidence-based techniques to reduce, and sometimes even get rid of persistent pain.
Here are just a couple of reviews from migraine sufferers that have tried the Pathways Pain Relief program:
“I’ve gone from having 20 migraines a month, to 3 or less. To say this app (update Aug 2023: Pathways is now a web app! Start our program here) has given me my life back is an understatement! ”
“My life had become a shell of what it once was. My migraines simply got out of control, and every week I’d have at least one attack. Since joining your program I’ve only had one migraine in the last 5 months. I’ll take that any day!”