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MoxieGirl

Looking away from the pain WARNING: ADULT CONTENT

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SOME COMMENTS IN THIS POST, AND POSTS FURTHER ALONG, MAY OFFEND. THAT IS NOT MY INTENTION, JUST TRYING TO BE HONEST AND OPEN ABOUT A SENSATIVE TOPIC.

I've been wanting to write this post for awhile now, but have been trying to find a way to say it so it doesn't sound condescending. I really hope I succeed. Also, Spiny's recent comment about counting, in another post, has prompted me even further.

There is a technique I have been trying to get to work with clusters for a few years now. It involves distracting yourself from the pain, or what I think of as looking away from the pain.

The concept is this: If two people are talking to you at the same time, you will only clearly hear the person you are looking at. Look over to the other person, and the first person's voice becomes a blur as the second person's comments become clear. Wherever your focus is, that is what you hear.

Pain works the same way. The mind can only process one source of pain at a time, and if we distract it, or turn our attention away from the pain, it shifts to the background of our consciousness.

I won't go into details of how I've learned this, at least not on a fairly public forum, open to many age groups. I once found a very effective abortive by driving a needle under my skin. Or perhaps 2-3 needles. The pain was sharp, and intense, and nearly always aborted a cluster, even though the needle was a 10th of what the cluster was.

Now, I'm not suggesting people start sticking themselves, or hurting themselves. No, not at all!

But there are stories of people banging their head, and I believe this is the same concept.

I've also found, with much lesser extremes of pain, that if I tap my finger and count each tap, 1 to 4, and repeat (1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, etc.) that this is a very effective form of distraction. By concentrating on the counting, the pain becomes a background noise.

I know what you are thinking. Clusters are 1000 times stronger than what I'm talking about, and no such technique works. Yes, I know.

Clusters are like 10 4-year-olds in a small room screaming for your attention at the top of their lungs. Tapping your finger and counting to 4 isn't going to help.

But I think the concept is valid.

I have found that when I get hit while driving, if I keep driving and focus on driving, the pain is less. The instant I pull over and stop, the pain quadruples.

I've thought about having a sheet of paper handy, full of easy math equations, and trying to solve them while having a cluster. I know, from my experience, that if I get into the left side of my brain, I can get away from many forms of pain. And doing math is a great left-sided activity. Haven't tried it yet, but will one day soon.

But, my clusters are fairly short, and not like a 'normal cluster', in my opinion.

Just curious if anyone has any experiences along these lines, and if you found it helpful. 

Renee

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Renee,

From my other post, you know that I count, massage repetitively, tense muscles and make repetitive motions.

All of this only helps to a point. Then, they are all pointless. If anything, I rock. On O2, I rock constantly to allow me to stay put!!!!!! I understand the needles, but I doubt that prepping for a suspension would stop the head pain. There just comes a point when nothing works and I have to ride the pain unaided.

Caught while driving: No talking, no nodding to another person, no music. Drive intently. My daughter once told me she could feel the tension of my focus on driving while having an attack. I had to nod and ask her not to speak to me again till we were home or this was over. Whichever came first. I needed to maintain focus. So far, I have not had a Kip9-10 while driving. I am very thankful.

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That sounds like a valid point,but when I get clusters,my only choice is to walk back and forth or rock in one place.I heard people do push-ups,baths ect...I wish I could,but my pain always has my full attention,unfortunately.

I'm not sure what Kip levels mean.I assume the amount of pain your feeling.I rate my pain as screaming,and crying like a baby.

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Hi guys,

I totally get what you are saying, and why I feel this is such a sensative subject.

You have to understand that I am very much an explorer of pain. I have done things that made very extreme practicianers in this specialist subject, wince and turn away. And this was before I had clusters and my pain threashold more than doubled!

However, I also know how utterly all consuming a cluster attack is. And even with all my practice, I can't distract myself from the worst of them. And the needle thing, it works, but only when the cluster has calmed down enough that I actually have fine motor control back. It's dangerous enough as it is.

For about 18 months, I explored more and more intense, controlled pain, with an aim to get as close to a cluster as I could, while remaining in control, and able to distract myself from it. I barely scratched the surface.

But, on a smaller scale, on the more managable ones, I was curious if anyone found success - like spiny's driving story. The concept of 'looking away', being distracted, is a good concept. But clusters just blow it out of the water.

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Sorry, really trying not to offend. Pain is a big part of my life, understanding it and controlling it - if possible. If the moderators feel my post offends, they are welcome to delete it. I won't be offended, just trying to be open and honest about a sensative topic, and possibly find some answers.

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Sorry, really trying not to offend. Pain is a big part of my life, understanding it and controlling it - if possible. If the moderators feel my post offends, they are welcome to delete it. I won't be offended, just trying to be open and honest about a sensative topic, and possibly find some answers.

I see no reason to delete this post.This is very interesting subject.Next time I get a CH I am going to try pushups.It will not be easy,but what do I have to lose.After 2 weeks of 3-4 CH a day,they just stopped.My last cycle,which was a few years ago lasted months.Basically,I have no clue. Now I just seem to get a headache that last all day.Pretty sad that I'm happy for the headache vs cluster.I am not getting a false sense of security because the minute I think its ok,is when the ball drops.I'm sure most of you know how that goes. 

I plan on doing some research for home remedies,and plan on making a thread on the topic.Hey,what works for you might not work for me,but we can agree that CH are the worst pain that most of us have ever felt.I am in the process of getting o2,and drinking Red Bull in the meantime.I think the worst,beside the obvious, is lack of sleep,and that bad hangover feeling that follows you through the day.

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toostrike,

Have you tried Melatonin? It works at night for many here. It may not stop the CH, but it will often buy you a good hour or more of sleep before the beast comes knocking.

Suggest you start with ~6mg 30 minutes before bed. If you are ok getting up to hit the john at night (no drunk wobble) you could probably up it. My experience is that 10mg is a good starting place.

Be aware, taking high dose out of cycle will make navigation to the john tough and you could feel 'hungover' the next day. Melatonin levels drop during cycle, so replacement seems to help. Not for all, but for many.

Home remedies abound. Some are well documented to work for some. I am sure that you know what I mean.

Push for that O2. It is a life changer. :)

Good luck.

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What exactly is offensive about this subject?  Isn't alternative therapy and exploring new forms of treatment a part of what this site is about?

IMHO, this is a place where we can be open and honest without ridicule.  If you're out of line, then I am too.

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Sounds good in theory. I hope you discover a good and safe technique!

What about eating a hot pepper? That would probably just double my swearing output though :)

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toostrike, I've heard of people going running when they get a hit. Physical exertion seems to work for some.

I hate running with a passion.

Quite possibly as much as many people hate the type of pain I adore. LOL ironic, isn't it.

Cluster are constantly changing, and are rarely the same for one person for long, and can be very different across groups of people. I do believe the best course of action is to try just about anything and everything. Well, safe things anyway. I don't suggest you go sticking needles in your skin. That's just crazy (but I'm a little crazy).

Me, I tend to curl up in a ball and rock a little. I used to pace, I used to not be able to keep still. But now I find I just focus on the pain, or try to focus away from the pain.

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Moxie,

From my experience any act of focus, distraction, massage, etc... does seems to work for a few moments... then the CH comes crashing through.  While at home, my only strategy now is Rockin' on O2.

While driving, the only dangerous part for me was the blurry road because of the tears streaming down my face.  There definitely was a slight disconnect from the pain though.

Are you talking about the needles actually puncturing and drawing blood?  Or more like acupuncture?  We, Clusterheads, are in a new frontier and personally I don't think it would be healthy to fight fire with fire, ie pain with pain.  But alas, we do what we can.  Best of luck!

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Yes, I do think there is value in focusing on something (driving when you have to). But, in general pain management, not focusing on it reduces the pain level.

I can reduce a REALLY bad, 5-7 day migraine by chatting with friends online. It takes my focus away from the pain, I can do it in a dark room and with the laptop brightness turned down low.

But I also totally agree, it works to a point with clusters. There is a point when the cluster just overwhelms EVERYTHING.

What I do with the needs is pinch a bit of skin to create a fold, and push the needle through the fold, so the needle ends up laying flat against the skin. It goes in, and back out again. Much like one might pierce an ear. I've pierced my own ears btw.

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Although I'm sure we've all done it, I would warn anyone about driving while experiencing a high Kipper.  As Runaway Slim points out, vision is drastically reduced due to the tears, not to mention concentration due to pain.  You are endangering more than just your life by trying to drive!

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alley,

You are correct. But, sometimes you are stuck without other viable options. Then, it becomes a question of will. I doubt my 'will' would overcome a 9 to 10. Fortunately I have a way to keep the level down a bit when changing altitude that enables me to get home.

The roads around here are a bit different from most of the rest of the nation. Two lanes, no shoulder, no pull off sections, twisting up a mountain. One side is straight up the mountain side and the other straight down the abyss. The only place to stop is in your lane of traffic. Then, all in my car would die, as well as the car that hit me and any oncoming traffic.

As you know, I have spent months up here without going off the mountain. That is the reason.

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Renee,

Have you noticed that many dentists now will hold your lip or cheek out to give an injection and wiggle it while injecting? It is the same thing. Your mind is focused on 'What is he doing? That feels really weird!", not waiting with gritting teeth for the stick.

When I know something painful is about to happen (dr, etc) I will take two fingernails and pinch myself really hard to distract from what they are doing. Or, barring that, bite my cheek or tongue.The confusion helps.

But, and this is a big but, the pain you are distracting from is short lived. Therefore, the self inflicted pain is also short.

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Thanks for the link. Some interesting comments. I'm quite active in the UK scene, and a member of a few .. um .. intersting sites.

Spiny, yes, it does work well on short lived pain, but with practice and concentration, it can last much longer. I've had laser treatment on my face to remove my beard, something around 20 treatments now, each lasting 20-30 minutes. This is the closest externally created pain to a cluster I have yet found. Imagine being stung by 350-500 bees, in the face, for 20 minutes.

It is intense to say the least. I find tapping my finger and counting the taps to 4 helps, but is a challenge to keep focused the whole time.

Renee

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My take on the effectiveness of the distraction approach is that I too have found it depends on the level of the attack.

I remember approx. 25 years ago seeking out a book on overcoming pain that discussed how if you are focused on something else, you're not suffering so much. I sat and learned something new to play on guitar for my distraction during a cluster attack and it worked.

I wasn't realizing at the time though that I hadn't been experiencing a high kip attack. Any attempt at that particular sort of distraction with subsequent actual high kippers was of course ludicrous beyond compare.

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'... ludicrous beyond compare.' 

I like that, and sums it up well.

And Hipshot, the Wild Side is the only side to be on. :) 

(and a great song to boot)

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