For 30 years Helen Kaufman lived in fear of migraine headaches and their potential to strike at any time…but not anymore. Ask Helen how often she worries about getting a migraine headache and she’ll tell you: hardly ever.
After undergoing neurofeedback training at the Center for Brain Training, she’s nearly migraine-free.
Helen, now 69, was in her mid-thirties when she experienced her first migraine. The frequency worsened as the years went on.
Normal life was impossible
Helen couldn’t go out to dinner, attend a social function, throw a dinner party or take a vacation without fear of becoming immobilized by a migraine. More than once she left a restaurant to throw up in the parking lot or retired to the bedroom, hands cradling her throbbing head, while dinner guests celebrated a few feet away in her living room. She remembers lying in bed in her home one warm, sunny Thanksgiving Day, with friends, family and children in her pool noisily frolicking.
“All I could think of was, I wish they’d be quiet and go home,” she recalled.
Lots of doctors. Lots of failed remedies. Lots of worries.
There were times the migraines were so severe she sought relief at an emergency room or an urgent care center.
Over the years Helen consulted many medical doctors. She tried Botox. The first time she got relief. After that, none.
For ten years she saw a neurologist who prescribed numerous medications for her. Only sumatriptan, a medication commonly prescribed to migraineurs to use at the onset of a migraine, could keep the headaches from becoming recurring bombs in her head. However, they were not “the answer.”
She worried about what the medication was doing to her body. She worried that if she took the pills more frequently than prescribed that there would be a “rebound” effect that would cause her to get more migraines. On top of that, the number of pills her insurance would pay for wasn’t enough to use with all of the headaches that popped up each month.
“I never left the house without my sumatriptan pills,” Helen explained, “and if I was ever without them, I panicked. Two years ago my husband and I went on vacation in Canada, and I realized after leaving that I only had one pill with me. We were going to be gone for 10 days, and I was in a panic. I got my dog sitter to Fedex my pills to me. I was scared I would come down with a migraine and it would ruin my vacation.”
Even retiring early didn’t help
Helen suspected that being overtired, and overexertion, were contributing factors, so she retired as soon as she could – with disappointing results. Even retired, she often paid a painful price for doing something as ordinary as throwing a dinner party, working out with her personal trainer or playing pickleball. By then she was suffering two to three migraines every week.
Could neurofeedback help? She was skeptical
One day while sitting in the waiting room in a doctor’s office Helen picked up a magazine containing an article about the Center for Brain Training’s migraine program. Frankly, she didn’t believe a word, thought it was nonsense…but she was desperate. It was the only thing she hadn’t tried. She made an appointment for a consultation.
Even after her consultation she was unconvinced it was going to help and questioned whether she should spend money on something she didn’t believe in.
“When I expressed that concern to my girlfriend, she said to me, ‘If your dog needed help, you wouldn’t hesitate to spend the money. Why wouldn’t you spend it on yourself?’ When she put it that way, I agreed to try it,” Helen recalled.
A couple of weeks without a migraine…then two months
After just five neurofeedback sessions, Helen realized she wasn’t having headaches three times a week. Or even once a week. At first, she noticed it had been a couple of weeks between headaches, then two months.
She gradually reduced the frequency of her neurofeedback training until she felt she no longer needed it.
Life’s new normal
Life’s new normal is so much better that Helen says she can now be overtired, exert herself physically, throw a dinner party or be in any other situation she used to associate with migraines and not get a migraine.
“I can’t stop talking about how neurofeedback changed my life,” she said. “I tell everyone who will listen about my experience. I still carry my pills with me out of habit, but I seldom leave the house now with any concern about getting a migraine.
“This feels like a miracle.”