Treating the cause, not just the symptoms

I recently had the opportunity to be part of a young woman’s journey of chronic headache pain. For the past 15 years since childhood she had suffered from daily headaches. It was over the past few years that they had gotten worse. She called them “ocular migraines” as her pain was in her eyes, she had vision issues and her neurologist used this term as her diagnosis. Prior to starting Physical Therapy, she was missing work regularly and debilitating headaches occurred weekly. She had also tried medication for her migraines but had started the weaning process. A not uncommon situation, her side effects required the addition offive other medications! Her reason for stopping her migraine medication was not related to her headache pain anymore. Her “ocular migraines” were better. The side effects from her medication included loss of memory, irritability and other symptoms limiting her ability to work.
Unfortunately this story is all too familiar. During my years of practice, I hear a frequent plea. “There has got to be a better way.” There is a desire for a non-medication approach to treating headache pain.

The question we need to ask is, do we know where the headache pain is coming from? Pain starting in the base of the skull typically has an origin from the neck. A self-screening tool is to place your thumb behind the ear bone and push in gently but firmly. While holding this pressure if you start to have pain into the head or face this is called referred pain and your neck may be the cause.

There is a happy ending to our story of the young woman with “ocular migraines”. But don’t take my word for it, watch her video and hear ‘the rest of the story’.