Who doesn’t love a case study! And this one is an absolute cracker – how high stress levels can present themselves as physical pain in a person’s body. Have you heard about stress being a silent killer? The growing epidemic of the western world. But have any of you linked stress to causing chronic pain? If you have read any of my blogs or listened to my podcasts you will know I am totally obsessed with looking at the whole body, both the physical and the mind when getting to the root of the problem. This case study shows how we used the two approaches to get rid of 10 years of weekly headaches.
10 years of weekly headaches always lasting four days
Have you ever had a headache that has lasted 4 days? The constant throb and pain in your head. There as soon as you wake up right until you go to sleep.
Pain killers don’t touch it, in fact a concoction of prescribed medication doesn’t touch it. Working your social calendar around the headaches knowing that one day or night’s activities over the weekend is just about doable but two just isn’t going to happen. Your life revolves around the headaches, a stuck record that has gone on for 10 years!
Well, this was the world one of my wonderful clients had been living with. She had tried all sorts of different things: copious amounts of prescribed drugs – in fact she was taking 16 tablets each week when we first started, physio, osteopathy, diet change, exercise you name it.
She came to me thinking it was her posture that was causing the problem as she was sat at a desk all day 5 days a week. The full body movement work we carried out sorted out her back and shoulder problem and her posture looked near on perfect but it hadn’t touched the headaches. We needed to delve into the mind’s side of things.
Power of the brain and the way it tries to talk to us!
The repeating question for me was ‘why did the headaches always start on the Thursday and last for four days?’ If this was due to posture alone why didn’t they happen on different days or for shorter periods?
My client had told me that work was very stressful and from starting at this office, she hadn’t enjoyed her work environment. One piece of homework was to monitor for a week the number of times a day she focused on headaches and pain and what sort of things her inner voice was telling her.
This was brilliant, a real eye opener. She came back saying she thought she was a positive person but had realised she spent 2hrs plus a day thinking about her headaches and worrying if something was going to trigger one whilst at the same time being dragged down by the toxic negative vibe of the office.
What you put your focus on – grows!
Her focus was well and truly on the negative and pain. It made sense then why she would be receiving more pain. Couple this with Neuroplasticity, working on the negative side you keep ingraining the same learnt behaviour creating her headache habit.
To both of our delight, a month after applying the brain homework she came back reporting having only had 2 headaches (previously experiencing 16 a month) and only taking 4 tablets (previously taking around 16).
She had altered how she was spending her time and thoughts to be much more positive – getting out into nature, changing her thought patterns, changing who she interatcted with at work among many other things. She fully incorporated a biopsychosocial approach to her health. She addressed the biology (body), the psychology (mind) and the social (her world around her).
To top it off she visited me 7 weeks later telling me she had not had a headache for 5 weeks! And she has not been taking any tablets! She has put the work in to gaining back control over her life but boy has it been worth it.
She did it, no magic pills or others doing stuff to her, she did it herself. She has learnt that the headaches were her body’s way of talking to her – trying to get her to make a change.
She’s gained back her power and I couldn’t be prouder!