Home Mental Health Chronic Migraines and Highly Sensitive Person- What you Need to Know

Chronic Migraines and Highly Sensitive Person- What you Need to Know

by Gauri Kolhe

Headache is very common problem among us and also seen as a symptom of various health conditions. You could experience headache on getting stress due to upcoming deadline of work, some family problems, over thinking or sometimes nagging of a person can also cause stress that leads headache and fatigue in serious case.

If you are feeling chronic headache from a long period of time due to social situation and feel like you need to be lonely for a time being, you may be have suffering from chronic migraines.

In some cases ordinary sound make you feel your head is going to explode such as ticking sound of clock, tapping sound or sometimes normal conversation between surrounding people.

They feel like euphoric and uplifting or overwhelming and nauseating and have low tolerance of pain. Person having this kind of experience recognized as Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). 

According to Dr. Elaine N. Aron’s bestselling book, few signs can be seen in the Highly Sensitive Person are as follows:

  • Easily overwhelmed by smells, sounds bright light etc.
  • preferring small group in rather than large group
  • labeled as shy, sensitive, or introverted  child
  • finding difficulty in Multi-tasking
  • easily affected by Other people’s moods
  • music an art can easily move you 
  • getting flustered to do lot of work in short time
  • avoiding TV or movies of violent nature
  • showing strong reaction to caffeine

According to psychotherapist Julie Bjelland have expertise in sensitivity human sensitivity is not a disorder, it is just a trait that is found in almost 20% of the population. According to science this trait is refer as sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) having an overactive nervous system.

In a statement bjelland explained that people having high sensitivity contains a lots of information in the nervous system. As a result high sensitivity person nervous system experience overload due to processing of small or large data.

As a advantage of high sensitivity, HSPs are more alert than others and they can better protect themselves from danger but as matter of fact it is universal truth that HSPs are more likely to develop chronic migraines.

What makes HSPs to experience migraines more than others?

Susan Hutchinson, MD, and director of Orange County Migraine and Headache Center says that a person always more effective by external and internal changes on having a sensitive nervous system. Usually in migraines some factors such as sound and stress, causes firing in the brain by neurons.

This firing of neurons results hyperexcitability in the brain that affect senses. As HSPs have the ability to receive data quickly and intensely so they can get overwhelmed and this process make these attacks more vulnerable.

According to Hutchinson the internal triggers can be fluctuations in hormone level in the people who menstruate, elevations of histamine due to food preservative and additives like added sugar or gluten and external triggers can be any change in weather, pressure, fragrance, loud sounds and exprosure to bright light.

The biggest key driver of chronic migraines is stress. Four out of five people have been reported stress as a trigger for their chronic migraines (American headache society). HSPs are more prone to release adrenaline and stress.  

Management of migraines being a high sensitivity person

Chronic migraines are serious problem even more serious in high sensitive person. Migraine is chronic neurological disease hence it is difficult to cure but don’t have to be hopeless as the management of migraines can be helpful to you.

There are some effective ways to manage migraines. Some of the ways recommended by Bjelland and Hutchison are as follows.

1. You need to spend some time alone

In order to prevent or mange migraines headache, the person need to spend some time all alone. Being alone for a while not only help in managing but also recharge you and can be card to prevent headaches causes due to overstimulation.

Some of the migraines triggers due to the social outing, work situation or being around people that has a high demand of energy, can also be managed by being alone

The point to be concerns how much alone time a person need. As the answer Bjelland recommended to hours per day and a full day or half day per week alone time needed.  However you just need to do some mediation, some activity that makes you feel happy and prevent chronic migraines headache.

2. Keep A record on Headache

Migraine headache patterns vary from individual to individual as migraine triggers are different to each person. So it is necessary to identify trigger that affects you so that you can get a help.

According to Hutchison “Those with higher sensitivity may experience frequent headaches, some daily or almost daily, and have greater difficulty identifying their triggers”. So keep a record of headaches in diary either on electronic device or on paper.

Migraine headache can triggered by stress, overworking, lack of sleep and some foods such as drinks and added sugar food.

3. Keep positive approach to your sensitivity

Yu have to learn keep a positive approach. You need to see your sensitivity as a gift instead of weakness. You need to understand what makes you angry and getting headache to do care of you in order to avoid migraine attacks.

When you start to feel something wrong with you, go for a rest, self-care or downtime so that you can protect yourself from suffering chronic migraine. Try to being open to other person and expend your friend circle.

The most promising way to manage migraines choosing a career and lifestyle that suits you. That includes:

  • first thing to do is Reevaluating your diet
  • make sure to live close to nature
  • Try to Minimize disturbances like music, bright light and other sounds when you sleep
  • Creating a sacred space in your home for alone time
  • Make sure to choose job that give you freedom of work and more flexibility so that stress level decreases.

Highly sensitive person are more prone to experience chronic migraine so if you are sensitive to triggers and suffering from long time than don’t worry. Just change your lifestyle and get proper healthy meal and do some meditation and exercise.  

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