Migraine Relief Through Youtube Videos?

I am one of the nearly 20% of American women who experience migraines. Over the past six years, these migraines have caused me to miss work, classes, social gatherings, and hours of my life as I became incapacitated and trapped by the throbbing pain that consumes my mind, warps my vision, and blocks me from participating in my own life. For years, I have attempted medications and lifestyle changes to alleviate their frequency and severity. While these have certainly helped to an extent, last month I became, once again, completely incapacitated from a migraine.  


I found myself in a familiar moment of desperation that people who sufferer from chronic pain know too well, when the medication was in me but doing nothing, and I felt powerless and defeated to the headache that would consume my life for the next 2 to 36 hours. In a last ditch attempt to find anything to help me with this pain, I googled migraine relief tips, praying that some new study had discovered a food or pressure point that could help relieve my migraine symptoms. Instead, I found migraine relief YouTube videos.

Skeptical, but willing to try anything that could at least give me a placebo effect of pain relief, I decided to watch the video. It was a twenty minute video that claimed to provide instant pain relief for migraines and headaches. I put in earbuds, closed my eyes, and listened to this bizarre combination of white noise and pulsating tones. In less than a minute, to my awe and delight, I found my pain diminished. After a few minutes I paused the video and the pain of the migraine came crashing back down on me, a correlation I tested again three more times, unable to fully comprehend and believe that an answer to the migraine relief I had been searching for years to find was a YouTube video.

Though this video did not completely eradicate the migraine, it did help me cope with the hour or so before my medication kicked in. It even helped me fall asleep during this time, which is always a difficult feat when my headache pain relentlessly keeps me awake. Yet, this left me with so many questions. Why had I never heard of these videos before? Does everyone else already know about them? How did they work? Were there any dangerous side effects to watching them? Needless to say, I had some research to do.  

It turns out, these videos use binaural beats, which are the tones your brain comprehends when your ears hear two different, but similar, tones. Thus, for these videos to work effectively, the listener must wear headphones or earbuds so that each ear will be exposed to one of these tones without hearing the other. The videos that use these beats claim that they will help with chronic pain, nausea, and other symptoms of discomfort. While many of these effects have not been definitively proven, the National Institute of Health’s database includes several studies that have tested the effects of listening to binaural beats. Some of these studies have found correlations between listening to binaural beats and stress relief, pain relief, and improved mood!

As amazing as this sounds, the research around this technology is limited, and there seems to be little conclusive evidence about definitive effects and negative side effects. The website mentalhealthdaily.com warns that binaural technology could be dangerous for people with epolepsy, children, and women who are pregnant. While no definitive sources backed these claims, it might be smart to be cautious about using these videos for pain relief if you fit into any of those groups. However, I know that these videos will prove useful to me and to many others who can use them to help with migraines and other ailments.  

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