Your brain can only focus on so many things at once. For example, it's hard to balance your checkbook when your toddler's running around, the teenager's negotiating for more time with the family car, and the television's blaring in the other room. When a headache is still mild, you can often reduce your pain by distracting your brain with other, non-pain messages. While distracting behaviors will not necessarily control every headache, they can help maintain function, reduce focusing on headache symptoms, and decrease the likelihood of pain escalation. Surely you've heard of stage performers who are able to distract their brain from painful stimuli -- for example, by walking on hot coals or lying on a bed of sharp nails! You don't have to be a stage performer to distract yourself from painful sensations. Most of us do this subconsciously as we work through our headaches.
More Answers from Dawn Marcus