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Managing Pain 2019

I use yoga and breathing techniques to tackle my migraines

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Louise O’Sullivan

29 year old. Works in residential sales, Cork

“Fear, panic, nausea, numbness and throbbing pain. For me: what my first migraine felt like.”


“It took me a long time to understand the connection between the mind and the body, and how it can help me deal with my migraines. I’ve battled with intense anxiety for most of my life, but I’ve learned to manage it with counselling and yoga. The knock-on effect this has had on my migraine has been hugely beneficial.”

You have no control when a migraine hits

“You have very little – if any – control of when a migraine will strike. You could be in work, driving or in a social setting. That would immediately make me panic: ‘How will I cope? How will I get home? What about the task I need to finish for work? My anxiety raced all the while my body was trying to process the migraine itself.”

My migraine routine

“However, many migraines later, I’ve managed to level off my fear at the onset of attacks with a ritual that I stick to.

“Once I feel the visual aura starting, I immediately take my medication. I get plenty of water and find as quiet and private a space as possible. Once I’ve managed this much, I sit down, close my eyes and very simply try to breathe deeply in and out.

“I reassure myself, sip water, and just breathe to distract myself as much as possible from the physical symptoms. Once my mind is calm I find that I’m far better equipped to manage the migraine itself.

“Although focusing your attention away from the physical symptoms is challenging, with practice it can become a powerful skill and one I definitely recommend integrating into in the battle against migraine.”

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