Category Archives: hemiplegic migraines

Knock Out a Migraine with Non-Invasive, Painless Sound Waves

This post is written for the Infratonic 9,
but the same instructions will work for earlier Infratonics.

The Infratonic 9 (I-9), a sound wave device — (501(k) listed by the FDA as medical massage device) — by Sound Vitality, has effectively helped me reduce the pain and duration of my migraine attacks. This article is an excerpt from a longer article about when I first used the I-9 on a Hemiplegic Migraine. Many medical massage therapists have Infratonic sound devices, including the I-9, and for the price of the therapy visit, you can experience the Infratonic device yourself. If the therapists have earlier models, like the Infratonic 8000, etc, they look different, aren’t portable, and are quite a bit larger, but they work on the same principles.

If you want to know more about my experience with the I-9, and some of its features, you can read about that here. If the I-9 can reduce and even eliminate my migraine pain, then it’s much more valuable to me than all the pain medications in the world.  If it worked for me, it can also work for you. If you want to purchase an I-9 for your very own, you’ll happy to learn that you do not have to have a medical massage license to purchase a Sound Vitality’s Infratonic 9, and you do not need your physician’s recommendation or a prescription to buy one.

I’ve included very simplified drawings of the areas where I put the I-9 to treat my migraine. I’m an author, not an artist, but I’ve indicated the rough location of the areas I treated for migraine pain. If you want more detailed images of any of the nerves or muscles, you can find them in Wikipedia articles, on medical anatomy sites, or in acupressure images. Though I looked at detailed drawings to get an idea of where the branches of the trigeminal nerve were, I used my own pain and my own pre-existing knowledge of head/neck muscles as the greatest guide to Infratonic placement during my migraine.

I started with the I-9 on the first setting, Balancebut that didn’t seem to change the pain, either for better or worse, so I proceeded to the middle setting: Acute, where  I did most of my treatment. At the end of the day, I did at least 20 minutes on the Deep Calm, which did increase the pain somewhat, but only for a few minutes. I used the Deep Calm setting because it made me fall asleep.

Head

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Location of suggested migraine treatment areas by Alexandria ©

Crown of the Head (area A)
Imagine a line going from the top of one ear over your head to the top of the other ear, and imagine that line being intersected by a line coming from between your eyes, up your forehead to the top of your head. Where those two lines intersect is the crown of your head. That’s where I put the I-9. If that particular spot on the crown didn’t feel sensitive, I moved it very slightly around that crown area. Each time I found a spot that was more sensitive on the top of my head, I kept the I-9 there until that spot on my head lost its sensitivity.

Base of the Skull (area B)
Since the debilitating pain of a migraine comes from the inflammation of the trigeminal nerve’s upper branch, I wanted to put the I-9 on an area of my head as close to the base of the trigeminal nerve as well. It enters the brain from the spinal cord at the base of the skull and then divides into two branches, with one branch going to each side of the head. I put the I-9 on the base of the skull, in the center, for about an hour (I placed the I-9 on my pillow, fan-like vents facing up, and then lay down directly on it). Then I put the I-9 slightly to the left of center, and then slightly to the right of the center of the base of the skull, to get both branches of the trigeminal nerve, for 30-50 minutes each side. On both sides of the base of the skull, the muscles were extremely tight. Using the I-9 on each side for 30-50 minutes did not increase or decrease the pain of the migraine, but it made my neck less stiff and that made my neck and right shoulder hurt less.

Trigeminal Nerve

Even though I have migraine pain only on the right side of my head, I treated both sides of my head when I was treating the trigeminal nerve. 90% of the treatment time was on the right side, where I have the pain,  and the remaining 10% was on the left side.

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Trigeminal Nerve Root Location as suggested migraine treatment area by Alexandria ©

Trigeminal Nerve Root
On each side of your head, slightly in front your ear near the top of your upper jaw-hinge, is the trigeminal nerve root, where each branch of the trigeminal nerve divides again, this time into three distinct branches. I put the I-9 on the trigeminal nerve root area on both sides of my head, not just on the side where the migraine pain was. Putting the I-9 on the trigeminal nerve root on either side of my head caused the migraine pain on the right side to increase somewhat before it slowly decreased. Using the I-9 on the right trigeminal nerve root hurt a bit more than using it on the left, but using the I-9 on both sides of the trigeminal nerve root on caused the pain in my right temple, forehead, and top of head to increase. I treated both the trigeminal nerve root areas for at least an hour, until the migraine pain began to decrease.

Trigeminal Nerve Opthamalic Division

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Trigeminal Nerve Opthamalic Division Location suggested migraine treatment areas by Alexandria ©

Trigeminal Nerve Opthamalic Division
The trigeminal nerve branches from the root into three areas on each side of the head and face. The upper branch is called the Opthamalic Division, and it spreads out across the temples, down to the eye and nose, over the eyebrows, up across the forehead, and over the top of the head. It is this branch of the nerve that is responsible for my most severe migraine pain, so I treated this division of the nerve along its entire route. Wherever I felt pain, I put the I-9, and I left it in each painful area until the pain began to decrease. Though the pain never completely disappeared, I moved on to more painful areas each time the pain lessened. I repeated treatment of this section of the trigeminal nerve whenever the pain returned (sometimes, after I was treating a different part of my head or body for the migraine pain, the pain in this section of the nerve would suddenly increase).

Trigeminal Nerve Maxillary Division

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Trigeminal Nerve Maxillary Location suggested migraine treatment areas by Alexandria ©

Trigeminal Nerve Maxillary Division
The middle branch of the trigeminal nerve after it leaves the trigeminal root goes across your cheek, up to your eye, down to each of your upper teeth on that particular side, and to your top lip. While I don’t necessarily feel pain along that division of the trigeminal nerve during a migraine, I do feel intense pressure in that area, so I ran the I-9 over that entire area for at least an hour on the right side, and at least 30 minutes on the left side. (Note: though I do feel eye pain during a migraine, I didn’t feel safe putting the I-9 over my eyeball itself; instead, I put the I-9 on the bony area above and below my right eye for 10-20 minutes.)

Trigeminal Nerve Mandibular Division

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Trigeminal Nerve Mandibular Location suggested migraine treatment areas by Alexandria ©

Trigeminal Nerve Mandibular Division
The lower branch of the trigeminal nerve after it leaves the root goes down to your jaw and to each of the lower teeth in that side of your mouth. I’ve never had migraine pain in my lower jaw or teeth, and I don’t feel any pressure there. Still, the trigeminal nerve has three major branches from the main trunk of the nerve, so I didn’t think it would hurt to put the I-9 on the mandibular branch area, where I ran it for about 10 minutes on each side. It didn’t change my migraine pain, but it made my jaw muscles feel more relaxed.

Neck

Sternocleidomastoid Muscle

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Sternocleidomastoid Muscle Location suggested migraine treatment areas by Alexandria ©

Sternocleidomastoid Muscle
I was in a car accident in my early 20s and suffered a concussion and severe whiplash during which the sternocleidomastoid muscles (both sides) were damaged. Sometimes inflammation of that muscle can cause headaches, although I’m not aware that it triggers any of my migraine attacks.

You have to turn your head toward the opposite shoulder to make the sternal division of the muscle more pronounced: the clavicular division is partially behind the sternal division as it goes up your neck and attaches to your skull behind the ear. I did 10 minutes on each section of the right muscle, sternal and clavicular divisions, slowly moving the I-9 up and down the entire length from the collarbone to my skull behind the ear, and then I repeated this for 20 minutes on the muscles on the opposite side, even though I have never had a migraine on the left side of my head. It was very relaxing to use the I-9 on this muscle though it did not change the intensity of the migraine pain.

Trapezius Muscle

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Upper/Lower Trapezius Muscle Location suggested migraine treatment areas by Alexandria ©

Trapezius Muscle
I did both sides of the trapezius muscle, from the base of the head and top of the spine, down the neck, over to the shoulder. Though research indicates that neck pain is not a cause of migraine but, instead, a symptom of a migraine attack, these muscles always feel very tight during a migraine and make the lower back of my head hurt. Using the I-9 on the upper trapezius for 20 minutes on each side made that muscle feel noticeably more relaxed, which, in turn, reduced the pain and pressure near the base of my skull.

I felt no change in muscle tension or migraine pain when I treated the lower trapezius muscles, but I treated the lower muscles whenever I treated the upper muscles because they’re all connected. To treat the lower trapezius muscles, I put the I-9 on the bed, fan-like vents facing up, and lay down directly on the I-9. Whenever the pain in the base of my head returned during the migraine, or when those neck muscles felt tight, I re-treated that entire trapezius area with the I-9, making sure to cover both sides of my body even though the migraine pain is only on one side.

Posterior Cervical Muscles

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Posteriror Cervical Muscle Location suggested migraine treatment areas by Alexandria ©

Posterior Cervical Muscles 
Research indicates that the painful neck muscles during a migraine are a symptom of the migraine attack rather than a trigger. In any event, my entire neck gets painfully stiff and uncomfortable during a migraine, so I put the I-9 under my head, at the base of my skull, so that the I-9 rested flat against the spine and those muscles, for about 20 minutes. I put the I-9 on the bed, fan-like vents facing up, and lay down directly on it. Then I moved to I-9 slightly to the left and right sides of the spine in the same general area to get all those posterior neck muscles. I ran it for 20 minutes in each area before moving it a bit lower and repeating the entire process: center over the spine, left side of spine, right side of spine, 20 minutes each. I continued that until I’d gone all the way down to the center of my back between the shoulder blades, where I felt no pain and, more important, no muscle tension.

I was careful to do both sides even though the right felt slightly tighter than the left. Though treating these muscles did not change the pain in my head, neither increasing nor decreasing it, the muscles were more relaxed afterward, and the mild pain in the base of my skull disappeared.

Additional Treatment Areas

Heart Center
*The only warning in the Infratonic 9 literature is to NOT put the I-9 anywhere near implanted pacemakers.*

At the suggestion of my medical massage therapist, I put the I-9 over my heart area (the center of my chest, actually) for at least 10 minutes. Putting it over the heart area for 10-15 minutes did not change the pain, but it made me feel calmer.

Under My Pillow At Night 
When I first used the I-9 and it made me sleepy, I turned it off and put it away. After I talked to the Director at Sound Vitality, she encouraged me to use the I-9 during sleep, all night long, leaving it under my pillow with the fan-like openings facing up toward my head. Sleeping with the I-9 made a dramatic and appreciable difference in the pain. By the next morning, the hemiplegic migraine had broken completely. (And I didn’t have to worry about the I-9 falling off the pillow and getting damaged.)

*Caution: Don’t use the I-9 under your pillow while it’s plugged in (charging). I did that early in the morning, about half an hour before I had to get up, and the device was noticeably and unconfortably warm when I removed it from under the pillow to unplug it.*


Disclosure *

Sound Vitality I-9

I have not received any sort of compensation whatsoever for writing this article about my experience treating migraine with the Infratonic 9. I did all the research on sound healing, ultrasound, infrasound, and Chi-sound machines myself, before and after my Infratonic 9 was purchased. I learned all the suggested placements for pain relief and treatment from my own research and my own experience with the Infratonic 8000 and the Infratonic 9.

The Infratonic 9 is made by Sound Vitality, and you can buy it directly from their site. After you have the item in your cart, you can choose Pay with PayPal if you wish to pay in installments. You will then be taken to PayPal’s site, where PayPal handles all the financial information and installment arrangements. Otherwise, you pay with a credit or debit card.

The Infratonic 9 it is also sold by Sound Vitality through Amazon, which lists the same device three different times (all with the same price): for sports injuries, abdominal pain, and menstrual cramps. If you buy the Infratonic 9 from Amazon, Sound Vitality will be sending you your device.


Related Posts

 

For more of my migraine and chronic pain articles,
go to my Migraine / Chronic Pain page


Suggested migraine treatment areas for Infratonic 9 © 2018 by Alexandria Constantinova Szeman. You may print this post out for your own private, non-commercial use, but instructions must include copyright. Please do not distribute without attribution and copyright notice.  Please don’t support piracy of intellectual property.

* My I-9 was purchased directly from Sound Vitality. I received no compensation for this article.
The ads contain affiliate links, which means that, at no additional cost to you,
I may earn a commission if you click through the ads and make a purchase.*

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Filed under chronic pain, Chronic Pain Treatment, health, hemiplegic migraines, Infratonic 8000, Infratonic 9, migraine, migraine self-care, Migraine Treatment, Migraine with Aura, Migraine Without Aura, migraines

How I Dramatically Reduce and Eliminate Migraine Pain

Updated 13 Jan 2019

I was first diagnosed with migraine when I was 5, which probably wasn’t too surprising to my relatives since most of the women in my family have this same neurological disorder, though it was only called a “sick headache” when I was young. At age 9, I was diagnosed as having (non-convulsive) seizures when I had a migraine. More than “just a headache,” migraine is a complex neurological disorder affecting the entire body, with the unilateral head pain being only one of the symptoms of a migraine attack. Affecting 10-15% of the adult population, migraine is, in fact, the most common neurological disorder,  ahead of stroke, Alzheimer’s, and epilepsy. Migraine causes a phenomenon known as Cortical Spreading Depression (CSD) wherein the cortical neurons begin to shut down in a wave across the brain (see This Is Your Brain on Migraine). The CSD causes the trigeminal nerve to become inflamed, resulting in one of the most debilitating and excruciating types of pain known to humans. I have at least three types of migraine:

  • without aura (sometimes called common)
  • with aura (also called classic or complicated)
  • hemiplegic (sometimes called complex), which can be familial (hereditary) or sporadic (non-familial)

Medical Massage Therapy for Migraine

I’ve been seeing medical massage therapists, on my physician’s advice, for almost 35  years, and many of them used acupressure and craniosacral therapy to reduce some of my migraine attacks (detailed in Head-Banger’s Ball). Medical massage therapy also enabled me, over the years, to identify physical injuries, some from severe childhood abuse, which were triggers for my migraine without aura. My current medical massage therapist used an Infratonic 8000 to treat my frequently dislocated right hip: that childhood injury does trigger migraine attacks for me.

The Infratonic sends infrasonic sound waves, which are beyond the usual range of humans’ hearing, through tissue and bone in order to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Because the Infratonic’s sound waves reduce inflammation, any pain caused by the inflammation is also reduced. There is no invasive treatment, no experimental drugs, no surgeries, no physicians, no insurance companies. Just sound waves. The Infratonic 8000 reduced the pain in my dislocated hip and lower back so much, I decided to learn how to use a sound-healing device myself.

On my head.
For migraine.

Sound Healing for Migraine

Sound healing is not new. Chanting, Tibetan Singing Bowls, humming, lullabies — they’re all forms of sound that have been used throughout history for healing, for meditation, for soothing. I’ve had a Tibetan Singing Bowl for years. I meditate with it and use it to reduce anxiety during a panic attack. Unfortunately, the Singing Bowl doesn’t reduce the pain or the duration of a migraine. Because my medical massage therapist had actually used an Infratonic sound wave device, which allows you to direct its sound waves at the source of the pain (or at the site of the injury, as the case may be), on some of my childhood injuries to reduce recurrent pain, I decided to use that specific device on my migraine.

My therapist was afraid that if she used the Infratonic on my head, the sound waves might trigger a hemiplegic migraine-induced seizure. Instead, she let me borrow her Infratonic 8000 (an older version) to use at home, cautioning me to make sure I was lying down in bed before using it during a migraine so that, if the sound waves did trigger a seizure, I would already be in a safe environment.

When I first put the Infratonic 8000 on my head, directly over the migraine pain, the pain increased. But then, almost immediately, the pain changed in a way that’s difficult to describe. Before I’d even removed the Infratonic 8000 from my head to change its settings, the pain began to reduce in intensity. Using the Infratonic 8000 never triggered a migraine-seizure, and because the Infratonic 8000 made such a noticeable difference in the reduction of my pain, I started researching how I could acquire an Infratonic for my very own. I was delighted to learn that you do not have to have a medical massage license to purchase a Sound Vitality’s Infratonic 9 (I-9), the newest version of the device, and you do not need your physician’s recommendation or a prescription to buy one.

Last week when I had a hemiplegic migraine, which I consider the most severely painful of any migraine, I put the I-9 right on the pain. First, it increased for several seconds, but then it was immediately reduced.  Whenever I took the I-9 off my head, the pain worsened, so I used the device all day long. I still had to take pain medications, but I was able to take less. I then slept with the I-9 under my pillow overnight, and when I woke the next morning, the hemiplegic migraine, which usually takes 3-7 days to run its course, was completely gone.

Yesterday, before I had a chance to finish writing this article and publish it, my car broke down (and it needs substantial money to be fixed), which virtually always gives me a stress-induced migraine (one without aura). I used the I-9 on the pain all day and slept with it under my pillow last night. The I-9 significantly reduced the pain during the day, and by this morning, that stress-induced migraine was gone (even though my car is not yet fixed). I only took (6) aspirin and some supplements for the pain over the entire 24-hour period, which is a noticeable improvement over my usual migraine-without-aura attacks. Since the Infratonic worked for me on a hemiplegic migraine, which is a rare form of migraine with aura, as well as on a migraine without aura, I wanted to document how I treated myself so that others could reduce their own pain.

(For complete operating instructions on the Infratonic 9, see my Review.)

My Experience with the Infratonic 9
During a Hemiplegic Migraine

For a hemiplegic migraine, which I consider the most severely painful of any type of migraine, I put the Infratonic-9 right on the top of my head where the pain was worst: along the top branch of the trigeminal nerve, whose inflammation causes the debilitating pain of a migraine.

When I put the I-9 on my migraine pain on the lowest setting, Balance, I couldn’t feel anything. I turned it up to Acute. The pain of my migraine immediately increased. But before I could even take the I-9 off the top of my head to change the setting to something else, the quality of the pain changed.

It’s difficult to explain, but within a few moments, the pain changed and was slightly less intense. I was still in great pain, but something had happened. Something that most definitely seemed like an improvement. I kept the I-9 there until my arm got tired from holding the Infratonic on the top of my head. Then I lay down, on my side, with the I-9 against the right side of the top of my head, directly on the pain.

And half an hour later, I was waking up.

If you have migraine, you understand my surprise. It is virtually impossible to sleep with the pain of migraine, and, further, migraine itself seems to cause insomnia, both before and during an acute attack. I fell asleep with the I-9 on my migraine pain.

I only slept for half an hour, true, but that was a huge blessing.

After I woke up, I put the I-9 on my migraine, right back on the pain.

And about 10 minutes later, I fell asleep again.

When I called the company, they said that since sleep was part of the healing process, there was nothing wrong with my falling asleep with the I-9. In fact, they told me to put the I-9 under my pillow, turned on, with the fan-like grate facing upward toward my head, and go to sleep. (Note: Though you can use the I-9 while it is charging as well as while you are sleeping by putting it under your pillow, don’t put it under your pillow while it’s charging: that makes the unit heat up.)

I did. Whenever I woke in the night, to get more pain meds or to go to the bathroom, I checked to make sure the I-9 was still on. It was. I went back to sleep. When I woke up the next morning, the hemiplegic migraine was gone. It usually takes 3-7 days to run its course, but after 24 hours with the I-9, that migraine was completely gone.

If the I-9 can reduce and even eliminate my migraine pain, then it’s much more valuable to me than all the pain medications in the world.  If it worked for me, I can think of no reason it wouldn’t also work for you.

Many medical massage therapists have Infratonic sound devices, including the I-9, and for the price of the therapy visit, you can experience the Infratonic device yourself. If the therapists have earlier models, like the Infratonic 8000, etc, they look different, aren’t portable, and are quite a bit larger, but they work on the same principles.

Where I Put the I-9 to Treat My Migraine

I’ve included very simplified drawings of the areas where I put the I-9 to treat my migraine. I’m an author, not an artist, but I’ve indicated the rough location of the areas I treated for migraine pain. If you want more detailed images of any of the nerves or muscles, you can find them in Wikipedia articles, on medical anatomy sites, or in acupressure images. Though I looked at detailed drawings to get an idea of where the branches of the trigeminal nerve were, I used my own pain and my own pre-existing knowledge of head/neck muscles as the greatest guide to Infratonic placement during my migraine.

I started with the I-9 on the first setting, Balancebut that didn’t seem to change the pain, either for better or worse, so I proceeded to the middle setting: Acute, where  I did most of my treatment. At the end of the day, I did at least 20 minutes on the Deep Calm, which did increase the pain somewhat, but only for a few minutes. I used the Deep Calm setting because it made me fall asleep.

(You can print out the following treatment section by going to How to Knock Out a Migraine with Infratonic 9 Sound Waves, but don’t reprint any of my articles elsewhere, and please don’t distribute them without proper attribution and copyright information.)

Head

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Location of suggested migraine treatment areas © Alexandria

Crown of the Head (area A)
Imagine a line going from the top of one ear over your head to the top of the other ear, and imagine that line being intersected by a line coming from between your eyes, up your forehead to the top of your head. Where those two lines intersect is the crown of your head. That’s where I put the I-9. If that particular spot on the crown didn’t feel sensitive, I moved it very slightly around that crown area. Each time I found a spot that was more sensitive on the top of my head, I kept the I-9 there until that spot on my head lost its sensitivity.

Base of the Skull (area B)
Since the debilitating pain of a migraine comes from the inflammation of the trigeminal nerve’s upper branch, I wanted to put the I-9 on an area of my head as close to the base of the trigeminal nerve as well. It enters the brain from the spinal cord at the base of the skull and then divides into two branches, with one branch going to each side of the head. I put the I-9 on the base of the skull, in the center, for about an hour (I placed the I-9 on my pillow, fan-like vents facing up, and then lay down directly on it). Then I put the I-9 slightly to the left of center, and then slightly to the right of the center of the base of the skull, to get both branches of the trigeminal nerve, for 30-50 minutes each side. On both sides of the base of the skull, the muscles were extremely tight. Using the I-9 on each side for 30-50 minutes did not increase or decrease the pain of the migraine, but it made my neck less stiff and that made my neck and right shoulder hurt less.

Trigeminal Nerve

Even though I have migraine pain only on the right side of my head, I treated both sides of my head when I was treating the trigeminal nerve. 90% of the treatment time was on the right side, where I have the pain,  and the remaining 10% was on the left side.

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Trigeminal Nerve Root Location as suggested migraine treatment area © Alexandria

Trigeminal Nerve Root
On each side of your head, slightly in front your ear near the top of your upper jaw-hinge, is the trigeminal nerve root, where each branch of the trigeminal nerve divides again, this time into three distinct branches. I put the I-9 on the trigeminal nerve root area on both sides of my head, not just on the side where the migraine pain was. Putting the I-9 on the trigeminal nerve root on either side of my head caused the migraine pain on the right side to increase somewhat before it slowly decreased. Using the I-9 on the right trigeminal nerve root hurt a bit more than using it on the left, but using the I-9 on both sides of the trigeminal nerve root on caused the pain in my right temple, forehead, and top of head to increase. I treated both the trigeminal nerve root areas for at least an hour, until the migraine pain began to decrease.

Trigeminal Nerve Opthamalic Division

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Trigeminal Nerve Opthamalic Division Location suggested migraine treatment areas © Alexandria

Trigeminal Nerve Opthamalic Division
The trigeminal nerve branches from the root into three areas on each side of the head and face. The upper branch is called the Opthamalic Division, and it spreads out across the temples, down to the eye and nose, over the eyebrows, up across the forehead, and over the top of the head. It is this branch of the nerve that is responsible for my most severe migraine pain, so I treated this division of the nerve along its entire route. Wherever I felt pain, I put the I-9, and I left it in each painful area until the pain began to decrease. Though the pain never completely disappeared, I moved on to more painful areas each time the pain lessened. I repeated treatment of this section of the trigeminal nerve whenever the pain returned (sometimes, after I was treating a different part of my head or body for the migraine pain, the pain in this section of the nerve would suddenly increase).

Trigeminal Nerve Maxillary Division

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Trigeminal Nerve Maxillary Location suggested migraine treatment areas © Alexandria

Trigeminal Nerve Maxillary Division
The middle branch of the trigeminal nerve after it leaves the trigeminal root goes across your cheek, up to your eye, down to each of your upper teeth on that particular side, and to your top lip. While I don’t necessarily feel pain along that division of the trigeminal nerve during a migraine, I do feel intense pressure in that area, so I ran the I-9 over that entire area for at least an hour on the right side, and at least 30 minutes on the left side. (Note: though I do feel eye pain during a migraine, I didn’t feel safe putting the I-9 over my eyeball itself; instead, I put the I-9 on the bony area above and below my right eye for 10-20 minutes.)

Trigeminal Nerve Mandibular Division

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Trigeminal Nerve Mandibular Location suggested migraine treatment areas © Alexandria

Trigeminal Nerve Mandibular Division
The lower branch of the trigeminal nerve after it leaves the root goes down to your jaw and to each of the lower teeth in that side of your mouth. I’ve never had migraine pain in my lower jaw or teeth, and I don’t feel any pressure there. Still, the trigeminal nerve has three major branches from the main trunk of the nerve, so I didn’t think it would hurt to put the I-9 on the mandibular branch area, where I ran it for about 10 minutes on each side. It didn’t change my migraine pain, but it made my jaw muscles feel more relaxed.

Neck

Sternocleidomastoid Muscle

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Sternocleidomastoid Muscle Location suggested migraine treatment areas © Alexandria

Sternocleidomastoid Muscle
I was in a car accident in my early 20s and suffered a concussion and severe whiplash during which the sternocleidomastoid muscles (both sides) were damaged. Sometimes inflammation of that muscle can cause headaches, although I’m not aware that it triggers any of my migraine attacks.

You have to turn your head toward the opposite shoulder to make the sternal division of the muscle more pronounced: the clavicular division is partially behind the sternal division as it goes up your neck and attaches to your skull behind the ear. I did 10 minutes on each section of the right muscle, sternal and clavicular divisions, slowly moving the I-9 up and down the entire length from the collarbone to my skull behind the ear, and then I repeated this for 20 minutes on the muscles on the opposite side, even though I have never had a migraine on the left side of my head. It was very relaxing to use the I-9 on this muscle though it did not change the intensity of the migraine pain.

Trapezius Muscle

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Upper/Lower Trapezius Muscle Location suggested migraine treatment areas © Alexandria

Trapezius Muscle
I did both sides of the trapezius muscle, from the base of the head and top of the spine, down the neck, over to the shoulder. Though research indicates that neck pain is not a cause of migraine but, instead, a symptom of a migraine attack, these muscles always feel very tight during a migraine and make the lower back of my head hurt. Using the I-9 on the upper trapezius for 20 minutes on each side made that muscle feel noticeably more relaxed, which, in turn, reduced the pain and pressure near the base of my skull.

I felt no change in muscle tension or migraine pain when I treated the lower trapezius muscles, but I treated the lower muscles whenever I treated the upper muscles because they’re all connected. To treat the lower trapezius muscles, I put the I-9 on the bed, fan-like vents facing up, and lay down directly on the I-9. Whenever the pain in the base of my head returned during the migraine, or when those neck muscles felt tight, I re-treated that entire trapezius area with the I-9, making sure to cover both sides of my body even though the migraine pain is only on one side.

Posterior Cervical Muscles

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Posteriror Cervical Muscle Location suggested migraine treatment areas © Alexandria

Posterior Cervical Muscles 
Research indicates that the painful neck muscles during a migraine are a symptom of the migraine attack rather than a trigger. In any event, my entire neck gets painfully stiff and uncomfortable during a migraine, so I put the I-9 under my head, at the base of my skull, so that the I-9 rested flat against the spine and those muscles, for about 20 minutes. I put the I-9 on the bed, fan-like vents facing up, and lay down directly on it. Then I moved to I-9 slightly to the left and right sides of the spine in the same general area to get all those posterior neck muscles. I ran it for 20 minutes in each area before moving it a bit lower and repeating the entire process: center over the spine, left side of spine, right side of spine, 20 minutes each. I continued that until I’d gone all the way down to the center of my back between the shoulder blades, where I felt no pain and, more important, no muscle tension.

I was careful to do both sides even though the right felt slightly tighter than the left. Though treating these muscles did not change the pain in my head, neither increasing nor decreasing it, the muscles were more relaxed afterward, and the mild pain in the base of my skull disappeared.

Additional Treatment Areas

Heart Center
*The only warning in the Infratonic 9 literature is to NOT put the I-9 anywhere near implanted pacemakers.*

At the suggestion of my medical massage therapist, I put the I-9 over my heart area (the center of my chest, actually) for at least 10 minutes. Putting it over the heart area for 10-15 minutes did not change the pain, but it made me feel calmer.

Under My Pillow At Night 
When I first used the I-9 and it made me sleepy, I turned it off and put it away. After I talked to the Director at Sound Vitality, she encouraged me to use the I-9 during sleep, all night long, leaving it under my pillow with the fan-like openings facing up toward my head. Sleeping with the I-9 made a dramatic and appreciable difference in the pain. By the next morning, the hemiplegic migraine had broken completely. (And I didn’t have to worry about the I-9 falling off the pillow and getting damaged.)

*Caution: Don’t use the I-9 under your pillow while it’s plugged in (charging). I did that early in the morning, about half an hour before I had to get up, and the device was noticeably and unconfortably warm when I removed it from under the pillow to unplug it.*

One Entire Day of Treatment

Does that sound like I did nothing but treat my head with the I-9 the entire day and night of that hemiplegic migraine? That’s exactly what I did. I was in bed all day anyway — as I always am when I have a migraine because the pain is too severe for me to do anything else (accompanied by severe nausea that turns into vomiting if I’m sitting or standing too long). With the I-9, however, the pain was much more bearable.

I never thought I would say this, but with the I-9, the hemiplegic migraine was almost like… like a really horrid headache.

And that was a great improvement.

I tried to read during the migraine but found it difficult to concentrate, even while using the I-9 for my head pain. However, I was able to watch some movies whose content was not too complicated: the three movies were just engaging enough to help distract me from any residual pain while I treated my migraine’s most severe pain with the I-9. Whenever I got sleepy, I took a nap. I took 3 naps of about an hour each that day: each time I napped, I had the I-9 under my pillow, turned onto the Acute setting, with the controls down against the mattress so that the sound waves were pointed up toward my head.

Yes, it was one day of non-stop treatment with the I-9 for this hemiplegic migraine, but I usually spend at least 3 full days and nights in excruciating pain, unable to sleep at all, and sometimes I spend 5-7 days with the same hemiplegic migraine. This was an amazing improvement.

Pain Medications During this Hemiplegic Migraine

My doctor retired in April of this year, and I haven’t yet found a replacement. I’m basically hoarding the last of the Tylenol-3 prescription he gave me so that I won’t run out of pain medication before I find a new doctor. For this hemiplegic migraine, I took a total of 4 pain pills over 24 hours (one every 5 hours, as opposed to my usual 2 pills every four hours). I also took  2 aspirin (325 mg) each time I took a pain pill, for a total of 8 aspirin in that 24-hour period. I also took some herbal supplements that I’ve noticed help reduce the pain ever so slightly, including a 350 mg valerian every 5 hours when I took the pain pills. (I’ll write another post on the supplements I take to help reduce the pain.) Clearly, the I-9 was reducing the pain significantly, allowing me to take less pain medication.

After the Hemiplegic Migraine

Before I had a chance to finish writing this article and publish it, my car broke down (and it needs substantial money to be fixed), which virtually always gives me a stress-induced migraine without aura. I used the I-9 on the migraine pain all day yesterday and slept with it under my pillow last night. The I-9 significantly reduced the pain during the day, and by this morning, that stress-induced migraine was gone. I only took (6) aspirin and some supplements for the pain over the entire 24-hour period, which is a noticeable improvement over my migraine-without-aura attacks before I began using the I-9.

I’m still using the I-9 daily because I originally started using it on a migraine without aura that was combined with the horrific pain of trigeminal neuropathy (more on that in another article). I’d actually been using the (borrowed) Infratonic 8000 and the Infratonic 9 (portable) for 2 months before this hemiplegic migraine. That means all the weeks I’d already been using the sound waves on my pain may have contributed to shortening the duration of my latest hemiplegic migraine. I can’t know the answer to that: I only know that I plan on continuing to use the Infratonic 9 every day, whether or not I have a migraine, to reduce the pain, frequency, and duration of any future migraine attacks. (When I figure out a good maintenance routine for the I-9 and migraine, I’ll put up some articles on it.)

Questions about the Infratonic 9 for Migraine

If you have any questions about my using the Infratonic 9 for my migraine, please do ask in the Comments (or on Twitter).

Note: I can also answer a few questions about using the I-9 for atypical trigeminal trigeminal neuralgia: constant, unbearable, unremitting pain along the middle branch of the trigeminal nerve and excruciating, shock-like bolts of pain caused by coughing, sneezing, bending forward, lyaing down on your pillow, etc.), which is, basically, a migraine in a different part of your face. The atypical trigeminal neuralgia was caused by an abscess in one of my teeth, and worsened by two uncomplicated dental extractions in 2017.

Since I’ve also been treating the excruciating pain of atypical trigeminal neuropathy with the I-9, I’d be happy to answer questions about it before I get my article finished: but, yes, the I-9 does reduce the pain of atypical trigeminal neuropathy — both the constant, unremmitting pain and the fierce, electric-shock bolts of pain — and after 6 weeks of treatment, I am beginning to have some pain-free periods.

Sound Vitality Sources of Infratonic Information

If you have other questions about the I-9 itself, the customer service department at Sound Vitality is happy to answer you via Chat or their toll-free number. They have a former website at Chi Institute, which has several articles on the 30-year history of the Infratonic, on how infrasonic sound waves work healing injured horses, on how the Infratonic reduces pain and cellular trauma, and how the Infratonic device accelerates recovery. The Hospital Protocol pages lists some of the types of injuries and tissue damage for which the Infratonic may be used. Sound Vitality also has testimonials on its site about the type of conditions the Infratonic machines have been used to treat.

Their older website has some diagrams about using the Infratonic (all versions), but I actually found it more effective when I just put the Infratonic (whether the older 8000 model or the latest model 9) on the pain itself, as well as on any areas that might be contributing to the pain. The Infratonic Therapy User’s Guide for the i9  is 110 pages of testimonials from customers who have used it on themselves or their animals, for injuries, surgeries, etc. You can read the entire guide online.

Sound Vitality has a video on the I-9 settings and timer, a brief video tip on using the I-9 for sleep, a very brief video mentioning the I-9 for headache and migraine, and a 48-minute webinar on treating various injuries and illnesses with the I-9, but there are no detailed instructions on how to specifically use the I-9 to treat specific injuries beyond “put it where it hurts” and “chase the pain.

I had to figure out where to use the Infratonic for my migraine pain myself. That’s why I’ve written this article: I would have loved to have found it when I was researching ways to reduce migraine pain.

Purchasing an Infratonic 9

I first had experience with Infratonic 8000 in my medical massage therapist’s office, who told me that she first used one on herself at the office of another medical massage therapist before she purchased an Infratonic for her office.

I realize that this is a rather expensive unit, and if I hadn’t used it in my medical massage therapist’s office for a recurring injury and its pain, I would have hesitated to buy my own, especially since no one seemed to know if the Infratonic 9 would help reduce my migraine pain. Their money-back guarantee convinced me to purchase my own, and I was saving money to buy it when I learned that Sound Vitality allows you to make a purchase via PayPal Installment.

You do not need a physician’s prescription or a medical massage license to purchase an Infratonic 9. I am not aware of any insurance companies’ covering the cost of the device, although you can purchase an I-9 with the funds in a Health Savings Account (HSA) if you have one.

The Infratonic 9 has a 30-day Unconditional Return Guarantee and 1-Year Warranty on Parts & Labor from Sound Vitality itself. Mine behaved strangely the first few days: it kept sounding the alarm and shutting itself off randomly. Sound Vitality paid my return shipping, replaced the circuit board and battery, and shipped the repaired I-9 to me, all free of charge.  Since it was returned to me, I’ve been using it over a month, virtually continuously, and it’s worked perfectly.


My I-9 was purchased directly from Sound Vitality.
I received no compensation for this article.*

Sound Vitality I-9

I have not received any sort of compensation whatsoever for writing this article about my experience treating migraine with the Infratonic 9. I did all the research on sound healing, ultrasound, infrasound, and Chi-sound machines myself, before and after my Infratonic 9 was purchased. When I had some questions about the frequencies of the sound waves, I contacted Sound Vitality. Their Director told me the specific ranges of the sound waves, as well as why the Chaos mechanism was added to disrupt those sound waves for healing purposes. I learned everything else from my own research and my own experience with the Infratonic 8000 and the Infratonic 9, and that includes all the suggested placements for pain relief and treatment.

The Infratonic 9 is made by Sound Vitality, and you can buy it directly from their site. After you have the item in your cart, you can choose Pay with PayPal if you wish to pay in installments. You will then be taken to PayPal’s site, where PayPal handles all the financial information and installment arrangements. Otherwise, you pay with a credit or debit card.

The Infratonic 9 it is also sold by Sound Vitality through Amazon, which lists the same device three different times (all with the same price): for sports injuries, abdominal pain, and menstrual cramps. If you buy the Infratonic 9 from Amazon, Sound Vitality will be sending you your device.


Related Posts

For more of my migraine and chronic pain articles,
go to my Migraine / Chronic Pain page

 


Suggested migraine treatment areas for Infratonic 9 © 2018 by Alexandria Constantinova Szeman.
You may print this post out for your own private, non-commercial use, but instructions must include copyright.
Please do not distribute without attribution and copyright notice.
Please don’t support piracy of intellectual property.

* The ads contain an affiliate link: if you click through the ads and purchase an Infratonic 9,
I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.*

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Filed under chronic pain, health, hemiplegic migraines, Infratonic Sound Devices, migraine, migraine self-care, Sound healing, trigeminal neuralgia, trigeminal neuropathy

Homemade Maple Granola

For the past 13 months, my migraine attacks have been so frequent and so long-lasting, that I am beginning to fear they have become chronic. When this seemingly never-ending round began in April 2017, I thought it was due to stress from my car’s dying on the road and being irreparable. Though I got another car within 10 days, the migraine didn’t stop. “Reduce your stress,” said my doctor at every single now-monthly visit, until I was virtually living like a hermit with no apparent reduction in migraine pain or frequency. Several months ago, I began going through every single item in my kitchen, vowing to eliminate any food additives or artificial sweeteners that might be lurking in my meals. I went through my cookbooks and vowed to make everything from scratch. Everything. From scratch. So I would know every single ingredient that was going into my body. Unfortunately, every time I thought I’d found the offending trigger, and had a half-day’s respite, the migraine would return with furious anger.

In the meantime, however, I found lots of ways to enjoy food prepared as simply as possible, with very few sauces or condiments (unless I make them myself). One of my most exciting discoveries was that I could make my own granola. I love it over yogurt, as muesli (I eat mine with cold water, a hold-over from my years as a vegetarian and/or vegan back in the days when such conveniences as soy-milk were unheard of), or straight from my hand into my mouth. Most of the commercial brands are high-fat or, if low-fat, covered with honey. (I’m allergic to bees, and the last time I had some honey in baked goods, I ended up in the ER.)

I’m a big fan of Deb Perelman, of Smitten Kitchen fame, and earlier this year, I treated myself to both her cookbooks. It was in her 2012 The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook that I found her recipe for Big Cluster Maple Granola (pp. 26-27), which you can also find online at Serious Eats.

Deb’s version is very fine, although the egg whites she uses for “clustering” made me a big nervous. I used her recipe as is the first time, and then, when it didn’t cluster despite the addition of the egg whites, I went off on my own and tinkered away, burning quite a few batches in the process.

I’ve finally mastered my own low-fat, vegan granola, and I cannot keep it in the house. And that was before I finally pronounced the recipe an actual success, wrote it down on the pages of Deb’s cookbook, and offered my guy a taste. I may have to start making more than one batch a week of this very fine granola.


Ingredients *
4 C old-fashioned rolled oats, uncooked (I use a generic brand)
1 C pumpkin seeds (kernels, shelled, no salt)
1 C flax seeds (whole)
⅔ – 1 C maple syrup (I started with the ⅔,  and finally settled on 1 C because of the extra ingredients
2 T olive oil (extra virgin, and be sure to taste it first: you want a slightly sweet taste, not a bitter one)
1 t Vietnamese cinnamon, ground (any kind of cinnamon will do, but Vietnamese has the best taste)
½ t sea salt (coarse or fine: both work)

Dried Fruit
½ C each dried blueberries, dried cherries, dried cranberries (or any mixture you wish)

Pre-heat oven to 300º F.

Combine all ingredients except the dried fruit in a large bowl and stir well until all the dry ingredients seem evenly coated with the liquid ingredients. Spread it on a large cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. (This will work fine without parchment paper, but if you don’t have any parchment baking paper, do not use waxed paper instead: it will smoke — if it doesn’t catch fire — and will taint the granola.)


Bake for 20 minutes. **

Using a large spatula, carefully turn over the granola in sections: it browns on the underside and on the very edges. Rotate the pan to ensure even toasting.

Bake 15-20 minutes more.

If it looks like it needs a bit more browning, rotate the pan, turn the oven off, and “bake” for 5-7 more minutes, checking the granola every minute. It goes from it could be just a little browner to burnt, blackened, and ruined faster than you can imagine, so keep an eye on it.

When it looks light to medium brown, remove from oven. Set aside while you pour dried fruit into a heat-proof bowl. Mix the fruit slightly.

You do not have to wait for the granola to cool completely before mixing it with the dried fruit. In fact, I prefer mixing the warm-to-hot granola in with the dried fruit and letting the two parts mingle their flavors. You do what you prefer.

Lifting the ends of the parchment paper by both sides, slowly lift all the granola off the cookie sheet and pour it directly into the bowl of dried fruit. If you’re not using parchment sheet, you may have to spoon the granola into the bowl: the small seeds and toasty oatmeal scatter easily.

With a large mixing spoon, carefully stir until the dried fruit seems evenly distributed among the granola.

Serving Suggestions
Eat straight from the bowl (I mean, from the storage jar), serve mixed with yogurt, sprinkled over ice cream, or with milk (soy milk, almond milk, cold water, juice) as muesli for breakfast.

Storage
Store in an air-tight storage jar. Deb Perelman says hers lasts up to 2 weeks on the counter in the air-tight jars, but I’ve never had any granola left after a week.

And if you have any questions or suggestions, please do let me know.

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The Ultimate Comfort Food:
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* I use Gerbs seeds and dried fruit because, although the dried fruit has a bit of sugar, it’s not very sweet, and all their products are non-GMO, vegan, and kosher. I get everything else at the grocery, and I use generic when I can find it.


** I’m high-altitude, about 8500 feet in the Rockies, so you may have to adjust your own baking time. Perelman’s original recommendation is 45-55 minutes at 300º F, turning/rotating etc. about half-way through.

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Filed under chronic pain, hemiplegic migraines, Insomnia, migraine, migraine self-care, Migraine Treatment, Migraine with Aura, Migraine Without Aura, migraines, Recipes

Head-Banger’s Ball: Escaping Abuse the Hard Way

Trigger Warning
This post, though not graphic,
discusses childhood sexual abuse.

Life is unbearable,
but death is not so pleasant either.
Russian Proverb

I was dancing when it happened. After almost four years, I’d just had the braces removed from my legs and, in my joy at being free, I was dancing all around the kitchen and the empty dining room, wearing nothing but my panties and a camisole. My father was there, drinking beer, watching me, following me all around the house. I thought he was impressed with my improvised ballet skills. I don’t remember where my mother was, though I do know that it was late at night.

When my father grabbed me and began kissing me, I squirmed and twisted away. I wanted to dance, not kiss. Besides, I didn’t like the way he was kissing me, putting his nasty tongue all over my face and mouth. I fought hard enough to make him lose hold of me. When he tried to grab me again, I ran to the kitchen and got under the table, trying to hide.

Unfortunately, he found me.

My biological father first raped me when I was 3. My mother walked in when it was happening, and had to beat my father over the head to make him stop. Instead of taking me for medical attention, my mother told me I was a “bad girl” and locked me in the closet until I stopped crying. I don’t know how many days I was in that closet, but it seemed longer than any lifetime. I couldn’t understand what I’d done, but I vowed never to forget.

As soon as I earned my freedom from that closet, I  began telling people that my father had done something bad to me. I told family members, neighbors, doctors, nurses — anyone I thought could punish him. Anyone I thought could make him stop hurting me, which he continued to do. No one listened until I was 4 or 5 years old, when a Judge, in his chambers, asked me to show him — by pointing to my body — where my father was hurting me.

I don’t remember what events led up to that encounter in the Judge’s chambers, only that he was kind and patient, that he actually listened to me, and that after I talked to the Judge, my biological father lost all visitation rights. Furthermore, though I visited my father’s parents each weekend and though he now lived with them, he was not even permitted to be in the same room with me. I never saw my father again.

After my mother divorced my father, I thought I would be safe from men’s violence. Unfortunately, by the time I was 5, my mother was already dating a man who was sexually abusing me in every way imaginable, doing more atrocious things than my biological father had done. At the ripe old age of seven, after an entire lifetime of abuse from my mother, my father, and my mother’s boyfriend (who later became my stepfather), I decided that life was unbearable, so I decided to kill myself.

My only problem was that I wasn’t exactly sure how someone did that. During the last violent fight with my father, my mother had slammed him in the head with a cast-iron skillet. I’d seen him lying motionless on the floor, surrounded by a pool of blood. When the police arrived, my mother told them she’d killed her husband because he’d killed me. Though my father actually survived the assault, he was seriously injured. Because I never saw him again, I thought he was, in fact, dead. Since my mother had “killed” my father by bashing him in the head with the cast-iron frying pan, I decided, at the world-weary age of seven, to become a head-banger.

Swing-sets, telephone poles, brick houses. Fence posts, church pews, marble statues. Bang, bang, bang. Walls, bedposts, porch supports. Basement floors, steel pipes, tree trunks. Bang, bang, bang.

I hit my head so hard so many times in a row that mostly I walked around in a daze. Sometimes I hit my head so hard that I fell asleep. Each time that head-banging numbness rushed over me, I was convinced I’d successfully killed myself, and I was so relieved and so grateful that I could never be hurt again that I slipped into that deadened sleep with something like joy.

Each time, however, I woke up.
Disappointed.
With an unbearable headache.
And with dreadful pressure in my skull.

Although many people know that a baby’s skull plates move — to allow it to pass through the birth canal — they don’t realize that the plates of the skull remain mobile throughout life. The brain and the spinal cord, furthermore, are surrounded by their own pulsing, hydraulic system that does not match the rhythm of the heart, breathing, or any other system of the body. Dr. John Upledger discovered this brain-spinal-cord hydraulic system and named it the “craniosacral system.” Upledger went on to develop a medical massage therapy designed to put the craniosacral system back in proper alignment.

When the plates of the skull are not in their proper position, as from any common injury such as bumping the head hard, then headaches and pressure inside the skull (from the non-circulation of craniosacral fluid) may occur. A severe head trauma, or even a minor fall from a slide or swing, can shift or jam the skull plates, preventing the craniosacral fluid from moving as it is designed to do, creating a tremendous build-up of pressure — and pain — inside the skull. The pain and the pressure will only stop when the skull plates are restored to their normal positions, something that may take many sessions with trained craniosacral therapists, especially if the skull plates have been jammed for years after some serious accident.

Of course, in my case, it was many accidents, some of them caused by my repeated head-banging at age 7, some of those accidents caused by my mother from the time I was born, but one of the most serious head injuries caused by my father during an argument with my mother.

My parents were both drunk the day it happened. They were standing in the living room, quite close to each other, screaming and shoving and hitting each other. My father suddenly shouted something that made my mother jump at him, clawing at his face. Then he began choking her. Since what he’d shouted had been about me, I must have felt, even at three years old, morally obligated to separate them. So there I was, shoving myself between their knees, trying to push them apart so they wouldn’t kill each other and leave me all alone to be sent to an orphanage.

In his drunken rage, my father must have perceived me as quite a pest, something you just fling away from you. So that’s what he did. He grabbed me under the arms, lifted me as high as he could, and flung me away. I remember the sudden rush of air as he swept me upward, the terrible, mind-numbing fear, the choking sensation I felt as he released me and I flew, without a net, across the room.

I remember the horrific jolt of pain as I smashed the upper right side of my head against the marble mantel of the fireplace.

I remember, too, the cold blackness that descended on me in an instant.

By the time my migraines got so debilitating that my family doctor recommended I go to craniosacral therapists, I was over forty years old. As soon as they touched my head, the medical therapists informed me that the right frontal skull-plate was “significantly jammed” under the left one. It was wedged under the other one so tightly, they couldn’t fix it in one treatment. Also, since it was a long-standing injury, they informed me, the muscles of my face and head had gotten used to holding the plate in the incorrect position. They agreed with the doctor that, though my tendency toward migraines was probably hereditary * as well, the jammed frontal skull plate wasn’t making the migraines any better.

The therapists warned me that, as they attempted, over several sessions (which turned into several months), to free the wedged cranial plate from under the other one, my migraines might get much worse before they improved. They were absolutely right. I’d been having about seventeen migraines a month when I went to see them. The first month of treatment, I had twenty-seven migraines. It took them five months of three-times-a-week sessions to get the jammed skull plates back into place.

When the skull plates moved back into their proper positions, the intense and unremitting pressure in my head disappeared. The pressure that I’d grown up with and assumed was normal had been caused by the craniosacral fluid’s inability to circulate freely around the skull plates and the spinal column. As soon as the right frontal plate slid free of the left one, the crushing pressure inside my head disappeared. I lay on the massage table and wept in gratitude and relief.

When I told my psychologist about all the times I’d banged my head when I was a little girl, trying to kill myself, she said she doubted that I’d really been attempting to commit suicide. She said that since I was so determined and so successful in other areas of my life, if I’d really been trying to kill myself, I probably would have succeeded. She said that I’d been in so much emotional and psychological pain that I was merely trying to medicate myself. Since I didn’t have any healthy coping skills, I’d banged my head against the hardest things I could find, to “numb” my pain.

I still maintain that I was trying to kill myself in order to escape the incessant torture from my mother and my rapist stepfather, and to atone for my father’s murder, which I believed I’d caused since my parents had been fighting about me when my mother “killed” my father with the cast-iron skillet.

You see, that day, when my mother killed my father by slamming him in the face with the skillet, they were fighting about me. That day, when my father said the words that sent my other into her uncontrollable rage — making her scratch his face, which then made him choke her — he was talking about me. The words he said were what I myself had been saying to my mother, family members, neighbors, and doctors for some time, though I said it like this: He does bad things to me.

That day, my father said it to my mother himself, despite her already knowing what he was doing to me, but he said it in a way that she couldn’t ignore. I didn’t understand what he meant, but I always remembered his exact words.

“Sascha’s a better fuck than you are.”

Bang, bang, bang.

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* Familial Hemiplegic Migraines (FHM) are caused by a genetic neurological disorder. I have FHM as well as from Complex Migraines.
(back to post)

Note: a different version of this post was published in March 2017. This version has been updated.

a small portion of this post is adapted from my true crime memoir M is for Munchers: The Serial Killers Next Door © 2002, 2007, 2014, 2017 by Alexandria Constantinova Szeman. All rights reserved. No content may be copied, excerpted, or distributed without express written consent of the author and publisher, with copyright credit to the author. Please don’t support the piracy of Intellectual Property.

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Filed under #CSA, Attempted Suicide, Childhood Sexual Abuse, hemiplegic migraines, Memoir, migraines, PTSD, Rape, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence, Violence