I have suffered with headaches for 61/2 years since 2009 at the age of sixteen. They began suddenly and progressed to be a daily event, where I woke with a headache, suffered all day and went to bed with a headache. Now aged twenty-two, I have tried many different therapies to get rid of them. One of the problems was that the headaches were not always the same or in the same place, they moved around my head, they would have different intensities and could be associated with sickness but sometimes not. I initially had blood tests, eye tests and saw a consultant neurologist who was very rude to me, saying “what are you doing here, there is nothing wrong with you!”
My doctor prescribed medication and referred me for 10 sessions of physiotherapy in 2011. It was too painful to have my neck and upper back moved by the therapist so I received massage in the form of stroking to my head, neck & upper back which was in spasm. I also had acupuncture and was prescribed exercises to do in between treatment sessions.
I was sent for many more tests when I started to have fainting spells and drop attacks, all of which came back clear and gave no clue to the cause of my symptoms.
In 2012 I paid privately to see a physiotherapist that had been recommended. I had a further 12 treatments of massage to my neck and upper back to treat what the physiotherapist diagnosed as asymmetrical muscles. This was the most helpful to me and helped to ease some of my symptoms, however, was not long lasting and the headaches remained. I looked at my nutrition and changed my way of eating to all freshly prepared, wholesome food with no junk whatsoever, this seemed to help but did not get rid of the headaches. I have always had regular exercise and running helped relieve the headaches during and after the run, but they would come back within hours.
I was referred off to see a different consultant because the previous one could find no cause of my symptoms and offered no further treatment. I was now offered more medication which after taking made my brain feel like it was on fire! In addition my concentration levels were very badly affected, so I stopped taking those. The consultant then offered me steroid injections into my neck as the only treatment option left to me. He said that my body had got stuck in a cycle of pain and that had now become my ‘normal’ sensations and that was what was causing my headaches. He said the steroid injections could break that cycle. I refused. At the age of twenty two I did not want to be taking pills and having steroid injections into my neck for the rest of my life, there had to be something else!
In February 2015 I found Karen Brewer through her website at Balance-Rite Osteopathy Clinic in Chertsey. She offered a free 15 minute consultation to discuss my symptoms and I was there for an hour for which she made no charge! She thoroughly explored all my history and explained her approach to whole body assessment and treatment. After her examination was complete she advised me that my headaches could be due to the mechanical dysfunction that was occurring in my upper back and that this could have a detrimental effect on the arteries supplying blood to the head. She showed me the area she was talking about and it was this that confirmed for me that I had come to the right place – I hadn’t told her about the pain I was having in my upper back at all, only the headaches!
Karen informed me that she could not guarantee success but that it would be worth trying a course of six to ten sessions to see if it brought any relief as I had exhausted all other avenues. She also advised that if it did help, she could not at this stage give any idea of how many treatment sessions would be needed as the condition was now very old and chronic, having had it for six years, and that it could be months or longer to get complete resolution. She advised that I would have to cease training and running through the initial treatments and it was then I told Karen I was due to run a half-marathon in April, which was very important to me, and that I was leaving to work in America for three months at the end of June. Karen then explained the risk factors and reactions that could occur during the course of treatment, explaining that my whole body framework and muscle tensions would be altered and that this could lead to me feeling pain in any area of my body, as the soft tissues had to adapt to a new position. She advised that I might want to delay treatment until after the half-marathon or that the treatment may help give me some relief before I did it, she could not say how my body would react. Karen did not pressurise me to begin treatment immediately but advised me to go away and think about all that we had discussed and what was right for me to do. I took three weeks to consider everything Karen had said and she did not bother me during this time, instead I came to my own decision and booked in for treatment at the beginning of March 2015.
At the first treatment Karen was unable to move or put any pressure through my upper back as it caused me a lot of pain. She was very gentle and encouraged me to feed back to her anything that hurt. By the third treatment Karen could now apply some pressure through my upper back without pain and I had noticed that my body no longer felt comfortable in the slouching posture I was used to but felt better sitting more upright! The first six treatments were intensive and were completed in three weeks. During that time the only noticeable reaction I had to the treatment was that of exhaustion – I had felt less tired after running a half-marathon! However, Karen explained why this had occurred and told me that it would improve. The headaches reduced after only the second treatment and I went a few days at a time without any, when I did have one, the intensity was much less than it had been previously. After the seventh treatment I ran the half-marathon without ill-effect and by the eighth treatment (over a six week period) had suffered no headaches for three weeks and no longer felt so tired.
I have continued with further treatments because, as Karen had previously explained might happen, I developed a pain in my mid-back as the muscles and soft tissues began adjusting to a whole new body position. This happened after the 11th session and Karen showed me why in the photographs she had taken throughout the course of treatment. I could clearly see in the photographs where the position of my pelvis and lower spine had altered position. It is now more central and straighter than it was. Karen has been great throughout the treatments, I have been able to get hold of her on her mobile phone for any concerns that I had. When my mid-back started hurting she supported me through this stage, offering advice over the phone that helped until the next treatment. At one time, when I could get no relief from anything else, she saw me that day even though she had finished working, to provide hands-on treatment that gave me instant relief.
I am so grateful for what Karen has done in the space of only three months and in only 16 treatment sessions! She has done more for me in that space of time then anyone in the last 6 years. I have had eight weeks now of no headaches, where they were part of my daily life for over 6 years! I feel absolutely fantastic and so glad that I did not take the route that had been offered to me as a last resort, of tablets and steroids for the rest of my life! I feel I have found something which has helped me tremendously and changed my life completely! I am off to America for three months now headache free and back-pain free but I will be booking my visit to see Karen as soon as I land back in England! I can’t recommend Karen enough, and have been passing her details to everyone I know who has pain!
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1st June 2015