Andrea had suffered with migraines for about 9 years that started in her early 30’s. There was really no clear reason why she started getting migraine headaches. She theorized that maybe the pain started from overuse and poor ergonomics as an ultrasound tech. All she knew was her headaches felt like having being stabbed by a “sharp knife” behind her right eye and the right top of her head. Consistently she would get these debilitating headaches about every 2 weeks that required her to seclude herself in a room for about 3 days. When it was all over, she still did not feel right and her pains would intensify if she bent over.
By the time she stepped into my office, she had tried many things in addition to her medications. She tried physical therapy, massage, and rolfing. The rolfer had been successful in moving some of the pain to her right upper neck, but otherwise, Andrea had not found anything that made her migraines go away.
These headaches affected Andrea in so many ways besides suffering from a sharp pain every 2 weeks. Besides lost finances from not being able to work, there was also money spent trying to find a solution with other body workers. Personally, she was a recluse when during the 3 days that she had her migraines. That’s 6 days lost each month where she couldn’t function or do anything around her house. She did not want to be around people and just did not feel like herself. Thinking clearly was out of the questions while she had the headaches. She was afraid to travel. Her life revolved around her headaches.
Brian was 54 years old and came to my office because of headaches he had been getting for about 7 years. Just like Andrea, his headaches just started one day. He would go from not having pain, to a debilitating pain behind his right eye that could last minutes to hours. First he would feel a pain in his right trapezius, then it would spread into his jaw region, and then end up behind his right eye. He would get these debilitating headaches about 3 times a day. Brian was fortunate that he had managed to get breaks from his headaches in the past. Between rolfing and chiropractic treatments, his headaches would eventually go away for about a year at a time.
Luckily for Brian he worked from home, so he would plan his schedule around his headaches. He would take migraine medications that helped shorten his headaches when they did start. Brian’s day revolved around his headaches. He planned his workouts and work schedule around his headaches. During his headaches, he could do nothing.
Both Andrea and Brian came to me looking for help around the same time. Andrea came because her massage therapist, also a patient, felt she needed to see me. Brian found me online and saw that I had written a book about headaches. After applying the osteopathic approach to headaches, a thorough, customized treatment approach based on each person’s problem, I could feel that changes had taken place.
What I ended up finding was that a strong compression in her skull affecting not just the skull, but the membranes deep in the skull and into the neck. There was a strain in her tongue that once relieved, changed her ability to move her neck and released her head. I feel that it is my thoroughness, my holistic understanding of how the body works, and my mindset that really make me unique in a way that help me get results where others may fail.
It was a few weeks before I saw Andrea again. She and her husband had gone to Mexico, a trip that she had been worried to go on because of her headaches. I had forgotten that she was going on her trip. After not seeing her a while, I thought perhaps she did not do well. When she came back she told me that she did not have a single headache after the first appointment! In fact, she had been raving to everyone about how much better she felt. I have gone on to see Shelly several more times and to this day, she has not had a single migraine headache. Things that once triggers headaches for her no longer do so. She has been astonished at how much better she has been feeling after each appointment. She’s so excited that she can enjoy her weekends now. She can be social and just feel more like herself. She also feels a freedom she has not felt in nearly a decade where she is not in constant fear to live her life worrying that her headaches will start. Her only regret is not knowing that we existed sooner.
Brian was did not get results quite as fast. Not only did Brian have a severe compression between many of the sutures of his skull, but he had issues throughout his neck and many other places throughout his body that needed to be addressed. He had also stopped one of his medications that he was taking on a regular basis because he was worried the rebounding was making his headaches worse. After the second visit, not only was the frequency and intensity of his headaches better, he had gone a full day without headaches. By the third visit, he had gone over a week without any headaches.
It may not sound like a big change, but that was a pretty big transformation for Brian. He has been able to focus more to get his work done at home, but he’s also able to spend his day without trying having to try to juggle his life around his headaches.
Andreas’s and Brian’s benefits are real-life examples of how the osteopathic approach is really one of the most profound hands-on approaches that one can get. These are common everyday results we see with patients. If you suffer from headaches, imagine having your life back like others have. Imagine having your weekends, relationships, lost work, and your mind back. If you suffer from headaches, wouldn’t it be great to have those experiences rather than suffering needlessly for years?