Headache is the most common symptom a doctor is asked to treat apart from common cold. There are different types of headache and the origin of each is slightly different.
A migraine is a debilitating pain in the head that is often preceded or accompanied by sensory warning signs such as flashes of light, blind spots, tingling in the arms and legs, nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light and sound. The excruciating pain that migraines bring can last for hours or even days. It is the most common form of headache due to various reasons. According to my studies, alternative therapies are working well in getting rid of this disorder.
Whatever the causes, the techniques are very similar in yoga and few variations in techniques can be made to suit the needs. For example, in case of headache due to depression, premenstrual syndrome, sensitive neck or sinus, there is a hundred per cent success rate among the practitioners reporting positive change within six months to 1 year.
It is more common in women than in men, according to the research.
Headache remedies include various types of pain relievers. Migraine treatment may also include anti-nausea drugs and medications to prevent or stop headaches. Most of the yogic treatments for headaches are same except for a few changes here and there in Asanas and Pranayamas. Let's discuss a more yogic way of dealing with the migraine which surely helps one in getting over their problem, no matter for how long they have been suffering.
They need to analyse their lifestyle and find out the actual cause. If they find it difficult to do so, they need to go gentle and introspect the way to eliminate and apply certain techniques very religiously so that one can find the actual root cause of it. Steps to treat yourself in times of attack and as a daily form of therapy to heal yourself completely in long run are:
To begin this pose, you should first assume Vajrasana. Both your palms should be placed on your knees. Keep your knees apart, so that your abdomen is in between your thigh.
Keep your neck and spinal cord straight.
Shut your eyes and begin focusing on your breathing and your body. Take a deep breath and raise your arms up slowly, exhale and reach down to touch the ground with your head and both your hands. Do not lift your lower body. Relax when the forehead and palms touch the ground. Do not hang your neck or stretch but keep it relaxed and the back straight and stretched forward. Practice it for 10 minutes without any short breath and keep following your breath. Practice Mahasirs Mudra for migraine or headache for 15 minutes or along with pranayama.
Bhramari is practiced by either sitting on a chair or on the floor by keeping your back straight against a wall so that there is less of strain in the back and the neck.
Close your ears with your thumb and the eyes with other four fingers gently. No external sound is heard and no external light should be disturbing you. You have to inhale for 3 seconds or more and while exhaling only the humming sound should come without opening of mouth for 12 seconds or more. Try increasing the ratio of inhale and exhale and practice 21 times in 10 minutes.
First practice inhaling through your left nostril for 3 seconds or more, then exhale through your right nostril for 6 seconds or more. Practice for 5 to 10 minutes. One round is for left inhale, right exhale and right inhale, left exhale in the ratio of 1:2. Practice in a minute not more than 2 to 3 rounds. This has to be repeated every 15 minutes during the pain and thrice a day, especially once before going to sleep at night, and again in the morning as soon as you are awake.
ASANAS (to be practised daily to prevent migraine or headache and not during the attack)
Greeva Sanchalan (Neck movements)Stand straight with legs close to each other. Lock your arms behind with palm facing up and shoulders pushed back. Stretch your arms down.
While inhaling raise your chin up and look towards the ceiling. Hold this posture for 5 seconds and you can hold the breath then while releasing the posture exhale. Avoid chin down to your collarbone. Practice 3 to 5 times. Then inhale and while exhaling, turn your head towards the left, hold it for 5 seconds then towards the right while exhaling again and hold for 5 seconds. You can hold the breath for 5 seconds. Awareness in the neck, arms stretched back, shoulder blades close to each and the breath.
Benefits: Helps you to overcome neck pain and strengthens your neck muscles. If practiced repeatedly during day time every two hours, it will prevent as well help overcome pain in neck, especially for persons having desk jobs. Don't practice more than mentioned at one sitting. Has to be practiced slowly.
(shoulder socket rotation)
Loosely place your fingers on your shoulders and arms parallel to each other and to the floor. Inhale while raising your arms up, allow your biceps to touch your ears and hold it for a while holding the breath for 5 counts or less if possible, then exhale while getting it down, touch the sides of the trunk.
Rotate your arms slowly as you breathe. If used for therapeutic purposes, it has to be repeated five times in a day, especially when you are living a sedentary life style.
Awareness in the shoulders, chin up, back and the breath.
Benefits: Helpful in cervical problems and frozen shoulder, also helps to relieve the strain of driving and in office work. In turn, take care of the strain caused in the neck and the back.
To be continued
Prema Nagesh (The writer is a yoga instructor and therapist based in Muscat)