Friday, May 18, 2012

Migraines and Muscle Memory

I've spent years of my life super busy. When I was in school, I also worked and volunteered. When I was out of school I still worked, volunteered and also did theater; always maintaining an active social life. I was constantly moving, thinking and doing enjoying every minute of it.

Obviously, living with chronic migraines and fibromyalgia has drastically changed my activity level but it seems my muscles have decided not to follow the slowdown program. I chalk it up to muscle memory. Wonderful muscle memory that allows us to do so many things effortlessly like tie our shoes, ride a bike, crochet, etc. Creating these memories is actually fairly easy, just repeat a motion several times and before long your muscles know what to do on their own.

Despite all my efforts to calm my muscle tensions I haven't been able to convince them to just relax. Through my biofeedback sessions, I've learned that I really can relax them quickly with focused attention. BUT as soon my mind moves on, the muscles tense up again. Most interestingly, I also learned that even though the Botox I received did an excellent job paralyzing my muscles it didn't decrease the electrical activity they were experiencing. Perhaps that is why it hasn't been effective in treating my migraines.

I'm working on my relaxation techniques and such but it isn't until this morning that I started to wonder if there might be additional things I could do to encourage my muscles to establish a new habit of relaxation.

Perhaps it will just take years of practice to undo the years of extremely high activity level.  I hope not because I think unlocking my muscle tensions will make a huge difference in the amount of pain I experience.

Do you supplement your relaxation/biofeedback practices with anything else? What kind of results have you had?


  1. I find my shoulders up next to my ears time after time all day long and into the evening reading blogs and watching Ted Talks. I tell myself a hundred times a day to relax my shoulders and each time I say it, I find the shoulders to be way high again-already !~!

  2. I go to school full time, work part time, intern part time, and volunteer for church things way more than I should (I still have trouble saying no). Even so, my life has been more relaxing lately because I can do many of these activities from the comfort of my home. Being able to lie down when the pain gets too bad, pet my dog, eat when I want, wear comfy clothes, and control lighting makes SUCH a difference! To me, spending time at home and having a flexible schedule helps me relax.