The Alexander Technique and migraine

Anyone who suffers from migraine knows at what point the migraine becomes disabling and the pain intolerable. Few sufferers are fortunate enough to see their symptoms disappear completely merely with the aid of commercially-available medication.

A migraine can be triggered by many things, but each sufferer can recognize very clearly the warning signs of ‘his/her’ migraine when the onset is not too sudden.

With tension-induced migraines, this precursory state and the accompanying signs of a progressive increase in tension and pain are easier to observe.

Through the method of conscious control, a fundamental principle of the Alexander Technique, the practitioner will focus on teaching the release of excessive tension in the neck, helping the head to move more freely and the shoulders to relax, and obtaining a flexible lengthening of the back, the entire process seeking to achieve a dynamic expansion of the whole of the body. This conscious process is able to cancel out the inverse effects of a migraine, notably a constriction of the blood vessels of the brain and poor oxygen supply.

Of course, as in any illness, all aspects of the individual are involved, even if this is not always evident to an outside observer. In the case of a migraine, the same is true and it is not sufficient merely to try and ‘relax’ in order to let the condition pass or to expect a pill to solve a problem that has many and complex causes. The individual’s intrinsic attitude towards the interaction between his own actions and what happens outside his control plays an important role in the way in which the tensions created by a migraine are triggered and sustained.

The effects on any migraine sufferer’s symptoms will in practice depend on the steps taken to achieve improved control on postural mechanisms as a whole. When the body’s overall neuromuscular system is given the chance to function unconstrained by the excessive tensions generally present within the body, the individual will experience heightened sensitivity to his/her organism.

With a sharpening of sensing perception, the migraine sufferer will increasingly be able to recognize the first physical symptoms at an ever earlier stage, when it will become increasingly easier to respond appropriately to them. This greater control in terms of responses, combined with medication when necessary, will be accompanied by longer respite periods and migraines of reduced intensity and shorter duration.

These improvements will in turn reinforce in sufferers the hope of a complete cure and the belief that they are not completely helpless and that they have at their disposal, with the Alexander Technique, a powerful means for recovery.


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