Living Life with Migraines

Healthy Living with Dr. Mack & Staff will not be heard on Thursday 3/8/18, however, follow my journey and check out past podcasts at:

Living with debilitating migraines but not allowing them to debilitate you!  I have been living this life for 50 years, and too often many believed I was either a hypochondriac or drama queen. The funny part is I rarely complained or dramatized my pain because life for me could never stop (at least for an extended period.)  Also, I am a type A personality, and for me, that has always meant I have difficulty shutting down my brain and relaxing!

A type A personality is often characterized as having a temperament of excessive ambition, aggression, competitiveness, drive, impatience, need for control.  The individual typically focuses on quantity over quality and unrealistic sense of urgency (OCD.)

Although I have always been an ambitious person for most of my life, I lacked the self-esteem to achieve however that pushed my aggression and drive and impatience to try to be perfect, often feeling much less than that despite any accolades I might receive.  Even if I won an “atta girl,” I often did not hear it as I was trying to be better even when I had reached my best.  I developed OCD traits with an attitude of “NOW” not being able to think first but react first.  My life became one of doing it now; there may not be another time!

I even treated my headache pain in this manner, driving through them because I felt it was expected of me, I assumed it!

It is never too late to learn new habits and those that are good for you.  The saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” is a fallacy.  If the old dog wants to learn, they can be taught.

I am happy that I have chosen to take a new look at my life and my health.  Many of the issues I have experienced I may have avoided at a younger age if I had decided to learn.  However, I am learning now.

This past Autumn I challenged my orthopedic surgeon that my healed femur was still causing me discomfort and the limp I was walking with was aggravating my headaches.  I began a regiment of Physical Therapy and deep tissue massage that has provided me with relief, no limp and the encouragement to work towards running, jogging or walking a 5K this year.

Although exercise does help reduce my headaches not having a strong core and not focusing on the main issues causing my migraines I knew I was not quite where I needed to be for a 5K or any other long ventured exercise program.  Each week as I co-hosted and produced, Healthy Living with Dr. Mack and staff on I knew I needed to seek additional treatment.

I am now in week three of treatment at Brecksville Physical Therapy, and Dr. Mack and Staff are teaching me how to take better care of myself as they work with me to reduce my headaches.  I am not just one of many when I am in their facility for treatment, I am me, and my plan is individualized.  His staff talks to each patient personally and leads them through their exercise process at their needed pace.  Let me share today’s story.

Today, for the second day in a row I woke up with what I identify as a massive headache.  I knew I needed Imitrex to reduce the pounding and stabbing pains.  Yesterday’s dosage worked quickly allowing me to go to treatment in a semi-comfortable condition.  Today was not like that at all.  In fact, I was icing my neck and head minutes before driving to my appointment.  I drove knowing the vision in my right eye was compromised leaving me good sight in my left.

While waiting for my appointment, I sat in the outer area holding my head and when I got up from the seat, stumbled and fell into the wall before regaining my balance.  I explained my situation immediately and although Dr. Mack still did traction, and other aspects of tissue manipulation, he did so with a lighter pressure during the hands-on procedures.  My exercises were not modified but it was suggested I go slow and if they caused pain to stop.  I had my deep tissue massage, and once again, the massage therapist asked as she moved around my head, neck, and shoulders if I was OK, not waiting for me to wince, moan or groan.

Lastly today James did try something new (although I have experienced this treatment once before) he injected the occipital area of my head where both he and I could feel the pain source.  After my injection, I was completed for the day and set to return home.  By the time I walked out and to my car, my sight in my right eye was back, and the pain, ache and secondary symptoms of this headache diminished.

It is essential to understand my treatment plan is working for me.  It is going to take time to learn to sit, stand and move more efficiently and in ways that will not tighten up the muscles that are contributing to my migraines.  I am also re-enforced to accomplish what I can, and not feel guilty for what I can’t.  No one is perfect and able to do everything for everyone without causing harm.  My harm has been suffering from pain.

If I do nothing else, it is to make my mother (and father) proud and live life to fullest as pain-free as I am able and with that, I thank Brecksville Physical Therapy for the program that they have not just for me but for many.  If you too want to feel better, you must take the first step and look for the right fit, just like you do when you buy a pair of shoes, pants, or shirt.  Not too small, not too big, but just right!

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