Thursday Tips & Tricks: Theracane 

This is the Theracane.

I bought it at the PT office I was going to for therapy appointments for my head/neck. Basically, this theracane mimics the massage techniques done by the physical therapists in order to restore muscle function; relieve tension, stiffness soreness, etc; and basically just help your body feel better!

For headaches: I use it on my neck, upper back and the spot right where the back of my head meets my neck. I apply pressure and try to relieve tension in those areas, because that kind of tension can worsen headaches and even cause headaches for some.
I’d definitely recommend buying one, especially because you can use it on so many areas of your body! 

Mary vs. the MRI Machine

My Neurologist doctor is like that super fancy 5 star restaurant where people are on waiting lists for months just to get a taste of their high-class plates–He’s got a lot to offer, in super high demand, and has to be booked six months out.

Most often, I see my Physician Assistant–who is super awesome, has exponentially furthered my forward progress finding help for my headaches and I love seeing her. But, seeing the actual doctor is a different type of visit. He’s just so intelligent and has a different way of thinking, so there’s always something new that I learn and he always suggests a new path to try.

Today, I continued to explain my symptoms. I told him how my atlas orthogonal treatments (post all about that coming soon!) has helped decrease the intensity of my daily headaches, but hasn’t helped my exertion headaches. Nothing has. I still feel the intensifying pounding when I do yoga, lift, run, walk up the stairs, bend over, etc. From heavy workouts to mundane every day tasks like walking up stairs–my headaches intensify and the pounding begins immediately.

Apparently, patients who experience that same type of thing (headaches intensifying by coughing, bending over, walking up stairs, etc.) often have a blockage in their venous channel. So perhaps I am among those patients. Of course, it’s a very uncommon occurrence, but people close to me know I’ve never been one to exactly fall into the “norm” category, esp. when it comes to my health.

So what does that mean? It means I have to get another MRI–but this time an MRV. It’s an MRI that looks specifically at your veins to look for blockages. If it’s positive, there’s a treatment where they put a stent in to clear up that blockage and open up flow. If it’s negative–well, then more MRIs will be taken and more serious tests need to be addressed.

So here’s to hoping that this MRI is positive (I don’t normally wish for that, nor do many people.)

Let me ask you this: how annoyed and frustrated are you when you’re not able to exercise because you’re sick, or you have a concussion, or you pulled a muscle, etc? Probably pretty frustrated (for the most part) because you want to feel active and youthful. Well, I haven’t felt active and physically youthful in about 7 years. I’m 23 years old and simply walking up the stairs and briskly walking across the room makes my head feel like it’s about to blow. It’s extremely discouraging. All I want is to be able to do yoga, run around carelessly, start  lifting again, doing anything really. Being unable to exercise or be active makes you feel lazy, large and lame. It starts to eat at your self-confidence and self-image. I say this because before my headaches became the way they are today, I was physically active every day and loved it. I loved being active and working to stay fit. It’s not even an option for me anymore.

So knowing that a positive MRI and implanting a stent in my veins could possibly bring me my old lifestyle back makes me oddly wish for a positive MRI result.

 

Anyone else out there experience exertion headaches like me? Or in any way, shape or form?

I’d love to hear your stories, advice, etc! We’re here to support and encourage one another 🙂

Thursday’s Tips & Tricks: Consider Physical Therapy

Thursdays Tips & Tricks 😍⚙ think about giving physical therapy a try! 

I started physical therapy a couple of months ago (I think? My sense of time is awful 🙈). My PA wrote me a prescription for it, to have the PT work on my neck, posture and whatever they could think of to help my daily headaches. 

I can’t say that it has solved my problem (because if that were the case there would be some newly very wealthy people), but it has definitely helped decrease the intensity of my every day headaches 😁💪🏼 

I have multiple headache disorders. So what the physical therapist is treating is my diagnosis of a cervicogenic headache—again, just one of my multiple types of headaches. They work on my posture (which was so bad before) as well as getting more motion and working out tension in my occipital nerves, muscles and bones (which all impact headaches). 

Bad posture causes tension in upper back and neck muscles. That along with having occipital nerve and muscles out of whack, can definitely make headaches worse.

It was a gradual positive change that I noticed. And it took a lot of trial and error and experimenting with different methods on my PT specialists side. We found that some methods didn’t do anything while some (more intense looking) methods helped dramatically.

And you know that saying no pain no gain? That can be very relevant to some PT sessions. They work on your back, neck, muscles, bones and nerves. Some things aren’t going to feel pleasant. But let’s face it–it’s nothing compared to the pain I (and all chronic illness sufferers) battle every single day. 

I’ve had some headache setbacks during the time period I’ve been doing PT, but they have been related to other outside causes (because that’s how life of a spoonie works, right?) But I can safely say that my physical therapy team has tried really hard to help me feel better, even if it’s just a small change.

People with chronic illness can atest, even a tiny positive change is considered great progress! 

Therefore, I definitely recommend PT to someone who is in a rut like I was–where they aren’t or weren’t seeing any progress in their headaches. 

Give it a try, because Ryan gosling might massage you after (offer not guaranteed) 


Facing The Storm 

  
It’s one of those days where I’m running really low on spoons. Been laying in bed all day, drinking lots of water and tea and kind of just letting my headaches dictate my day & mood. Every day though, is a learning experience on how to manage and deal with my pain. Learning how to handle your chronic pain and keep on living a normal life is a journey in itself. Some days are harder than others, but it’s in our power to learn how to sail our own ship. 

Keep On Truckin 

  
Test after test. Doctor office after doctor office. There’s really no break when you’re trying to figure out what’s causing your chronic pain. I’ve don’t a number of X-rays, ct scans, and mris over the past few years. I don’t really remember how many.. So it always makes me uncomfortable to add another one to the list. However, I’m trying every possible route I can think of in order to (hopefully) get some answers as to what’s causing and how to treat my daily headaches. 

So today I did an X-ray of my cervical spine. Gonna see if it shows anything out of the ordinary. When one part of your body is messed up, it can affect other parts of your body as well. Neck issues are often linked to headaches or worsened headaches. So I decided to see if that’s a possibility in my case.

Happily accepting any good luck and wishful thinking! 

Acupuncture–Take One

Today, I laid in a doctor’s office with 18 needles sticking out of my face, ears, hands and feet. I have been wanting to try acupuncture for a while, and today I finally did it. My whole apprehension to needles and fainting reputation held me back for a while, but it wasn’t that bad in the end.

My neurologist and past chiropractor had suggested just giving it a try. They warned me that since everyone’s bodies are different, not to base my decision to try it on other people’s success stories or lack of success from the method. They told me some people feel a difference right away, some it takes a few visits and some don’t ever feel relief to their pain or a change in their body.

I’ve reached the point though, where I am willing to try almost anything to see what may help my head. I’m on the path to some more drastic methods, but in the mean time I’m trying everything else I can think of before diving into the more intrusive type procedures.

I can assure you I looked nowhere as peaceful and relaxed as this person here does. Not sure how one ends up looking this way with needles sticking out of your face.

Anyways, I sat there with needles in my face, ears, hands and feet for about 10 minutes. While I didn’t notice much of a difference today, I’m going to go back and see if a repeated procedure helps at all.

One positive from this appointment was getting a different opinion and insight from a different type of doctor. A doctor who thinks mechanically and a little bit outside of the box. He gave me great insight and his thoughts as to possible causes for my pain and assured me he would look into everything I handed him in order to see if he can help at all.

It’s not a doctor I would have ever really thought to go to, but he really did point out some things about my body that other doctors have not been able to do.

So if you’ve been debating whether or not to try this method yet, I say it’s worth a shot! You never know what different things you may hear or if it will help until you try it! And if I didn’t faint with the needles in, then neither will any of you!