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Natural ways to ease the ache

How acupuncture, biofeedback and other approaches offer relief_and dial down stress.

Dorothy Foltz-Gray

Provided by HealthMonitor

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When it comes to preventing'and relieving'migraine pain, treatments like relaxation training might not come to mind. Yet "biobehavioral therapies have been scientifically shown to benefit people who experience headaches," says Dawn C. Buse, PhD, director of behavioral medicine at Montefiore Headache Center in New York City. "They're fairly easy to learn and can be done almost anywhere and at any time."

Consider the following:

" Biofeedback teaches you how to control your body's response to stress.
How it works: In one form, you place an electronic probe on your finger to monitor your skin temperature. When you're stressed, blood flows away from your hands and feet, cooling them. As you relax'through techniques like deep breathing'you'll notice your finger warming up. "Once you have the technique down, you can become incredibly successful at controlling migraine because it quiets the nervous system," says Roger Cady, MD, founder and medical director of the Headache Care Center in Springfield, MO.

" Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps you understand how your thoughts and behavior affect your migraine symptoms.
How it works: A counselor teaches you relaxation exercises, as well as skills for dealing with stressors.

" Relaxation training involves calming your body and mind.
How it works: With progressive muscle relaxation, a person gradually tenses and relaxes her muscles. Other techniques include diaphragmatic breathing and visual imagery, in which you envision relaxing scenes. During relaxation you breathe deeply, which increases oxygen supply to the brain and helps stave off a headache.

" Yoga can help promote relaxation.
How it works: Done regularly, it keeps the nervous system in balance.

" Acupuncture involves inserting needles into certain areas of the body.
How it works: It may reduce inflammation and help control pain.

" Physical therapy involves the use of hot and cold packs, ultrasound and other techniques.
How it works: A cold pack may interfere with the release of substances that can trigger a headache. Heat therapy and ultrasound help relax muscles, easing pain
Ultrasound Balance Difficulty Breathing Headache Pain Pain, Head Stress Migraine Physical Therapy Inflammation Oxygen

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