Can Meditation Help With Your Headaches?

You know the pounding, squeezing, debilitating aching that comes with headaches. You also know the frustration of trying medications, ice packs, and other pain-relieving methods with no success. It can feel like you’re alone in your fight against headache pain, but approximately 50-75% of people between the ages of 18 and 65 struggle with headache pain and are just as fed up with failed remedies as you.

Fortunately, Dr. Padma Sripada and her experienced staff at Columbia Internal Medicine have a secret headache-fighting weapon: meditation. Here’s everything you need to know about meditation as a treatment for headaches. 

The basics of meditation

You might picture a Buddhist monk sitting crossed-legged atop a beautiful mountain when you think of meditation, but it’s actually a lot more accessible than you might think. Practicing meditation is all about bringing awareness to yourself, your breathing, and your feelings. It can be done in your bedroom, your cubicle, or even sitting in your car in the parking lot. 

Perhaps the greatest benefit of meditation is identifying what triggers stress in your life. Stress, especially untreated stress, can lead to a variety of serious health complications like substance abuse and dependence, high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. You can also experience chronic and severe headaches if you’re living with unmanaged stress. 

Stress and headaches

Headaches can stem from many different problems like underlying medical conditions and poor posture. Most commonly, headaches are exacerbated as a result of persistent and severe stress. 

When your body senses it’s in a dangerous or stressful situation, it releases chemicals called hormones to stimulate your fight-or-flight response. This response changes your blood vessels and makes your muscles contract. With your body in a constant state of tension, your head begins to throb and ache. You know these stress-related headaches as tension headaches and migraines. 

Treating your headaches with meditation

If your headache pain is stress-induced, meditation is an excellent treatment option for you, especially if you’re looking for relief without the use of prescription medications. Meditation focuses on noticing what makes you stressed and managing that stress, so you can restore calmness and reduce pain. 

Meditation can be both the hardest and simplest task you’ve ever done. 

Adding it into your day can be as easy as finding a spare 10-15 minutes every day. We walk you through the different kinds of meditation and help you determine which is best for your needs. 

You can practice concentration meditation in which you focus on a single point like a candle flame or repeat a word or phrase. Mindfulness meditation, on the other hand, involves observing your thoughts and feelings and letting go of negative feelings. 

Whichever technique you choose, the routine is the same. You’ll engage in breathing exercises and try to bring yourself to stillness. This allows your mind and body to relax completely and empty itself of negativity and stress. Getting yourself to this point can be tricky at first, but once you’ve mastered what makes you the most relaxed, you’ll be looking forward to your daily meditations. 

With less or even eliminated stress, you’re much less likely to develop headache pain throughout the day. You can carve out time every day to practice meditation or find a quiet place to meditate when you feel stress bubbling up or a headache starting. 

Can meditation help with your headaches? Dr. Sripada and her team believe it can. Don’t let headaches rule your life. Take control of your physical and mental health with help from our experts.

If you’d like more information or would like to get started with a consultation, call our office, or schedule an appointment online today.

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