Pediatric migraine headaches are recurrent headaches, often associated with nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light (photophobia), and sensitivity to sound (phonophobia). They can be quite debilitating, causing children to miss school and significantly compromising the quality of their lives.
Some patients experience an aura prior to their headaches. An aura is a signal that the migraine is going to occur relatively soon. An aura may involve seeing flashing lights, feeling dizzy, or other sensations. Although an aura occurs in only one-third of migraine patients, I have found that most patients’ headaches do not become severe that quickly. Even without an aura, patients usually experience the headache beginning, then becoming worse over time.
Success Story: Medical Hypnosis for Migraines
Dr. Lazarus treated 12-year old Anton for migraine headaches. This video shows some of Anton’s sessions with Dr. Lazarus and includes a follow up with Anton 9 years after treatment with a note on how he uses his newly learned skill of self-hypnosis.
Traditional treatment with medication includes:
• symptomatic (treating an active migraine)
• abortive (treating a migraine that is about to occur)
• preventive (using long-term medication to prevent migraines)
These medications often do not work and may have significant side effects. The most common side effects include:
• weight gain
• cardiac complications, including an arrhythmia.
The Effectiveness Of Self-Hypnosis for Migraines
Self-hypnosis has been shown to be extremely effective not only in the treatment of migraines in children and adolescents, but also in preventing them. Studies have shown repeatedly that the use of self-hypnosis decreases the frequency, duration, and intensity of the headaches, thereby decreasing the amount of pain medication required for them.1,2
Furthermore, in patients who exhibit an aura before their migraines, the aura can be used as a signal to use the technique of self-hypnosis in order to abort the migraine. And, if a migraine does occur, patients can use self-hypnosis to decrease the discomfort and often make it go away completely, in a relatively short period of time.
Why depend on medication…when you can help yourself without it?
For children and adolescents, self-hypnosis has been shown to be extremely effective not only in treating migraines, but also in preventing them. During self-hypnosis, patients learn that they can teach their brains to talk to their bodies to gain even better control over the migraines.
Dr. Lazarus has found that his patients typically experience dramatic improvement after only 1 to 3 visits. And, because this technique involves no medication, there are no side effects.
1. Olness K, MacDonald JT, Uden DL. Comparison of self-hypnosis and propranolol in the treatment of juvenile classic migraine. Pediatrics. 1987;79:593–597.
2. Sartory G, Muller B, Metsch J, Pothmann R. A comparison of psychological and pharmacological treatment of pediatric migraine. Behav Res Ther. 1998;36:1155–1170.