Headaches can be completely debilitating for some people. My mother suffered from debilitating migraines that left her in bed with the curtains drawn for long periods. I had migraines regularly as a teenager, but thankfully now they are much less frequent. I have friends and patients who suffer terribly from debilitating headaches and so find myself particularly interested in treating them.
Headaches can be tricky to diagnose – one has to rule out all kinds of possible ‘nasty’ causes of headaches and sometimes this requires neurological referral and imaging studies to be done. The history and pattern of pain can give strong clues to the type of headache that someone suffers from, as can diet, headache and sleep diaries. It can be complicated, however, when someone suffers from multiple kinds of headaches. Someone may have migraines but they may also have tension headaches or other kinds of headaches. The International Headache Society has a standard classification system for headaches but saying it is ‘standard’ certainly doesn’t make it simple! There are types, subtypes, variants and more – this is why I want to pursue further study in the clinical evaluation and management of headache. It is not an osteopathy course but a clinical medicine course – osteopathic care doesn’t exist in a vacuum and it is important to keep up with progress in all of the evidence based treatment modalities.
I got a text message from a patient this morning. She has suffered terribly from headaches for a very long time. This is what she said:
Morning Tracy just texting to say I woke up pain free for the first time in twenty two years. No headache or stiffness in my neck. I can move my left arm freely and I feel great. You have made such a difference to my pain. Thank you so much. I feel like there can be a future without pain killers. You are an angel.
This text message really moved me – this is the kind of thing I aspire to for all of my patients, and I am so thrilled to have had some impact and help this lovely lady have some hope that things can change for her.
If you have headaches or know someone who does, please put them in touch with me. Booking is easy online at backpainwestlondon.co.uk or you can phone 020 3143 3163.