So, I just had a very *interesting* ten days.
Basically, I had the worst headache imaginable. It was so bad, it was hard not to think of the worst…
The first thing you need to understand is that I don’t get headaches. I’m very fortunate that way. I really can’t remember a time in the last decade that I’ve had one, and I’ve certainly never experienced anything like this in my life.
It started almost like a really bad vertigo situation the Friday before last.
In other words, any movement, specifically a change of head elevation (getting up, sitting down, tying my shoe), would elicit a shooting pain in the crown of my head so intense that I would buckle under the pressure and I felt like I was going to blackout. That kept up through the weekend. As long as I didn’t move, I was relatively OK.
Come Monday, there was now a constant headache. While the movement-caused pain was about a 9 (I’d consider 10 blackout), the steady, non-movement headache pain was probably a 6 or so. Still no fun. 🙁
The constant headache and the fact that it was getting worse will certainly play some tricks on you. You start playing out all kinds of scenarios…
But, in my heart (and my broken head ;-b), I knew there was something less sinister to all of this.
Side note: This is probably when I should have gone to the specialist that I’ll mention in a bit instead of waiting until yesterday.
Now it’s Wednesday and I’m flying to Louisville where I’m co-hosting a 2-day mastermind for fitness entrepreneurs. At this point I had to break down and start taking ibuprofen – some pretty significant doses – to at least “take the edge off.”
Oh, and yes, I was definitely concerned about how the pressure on the plane would affect me. Fortunately, it didn’t, but there was that one time when I got up to get something from my bag and the shooting pain was so bad it brought on a tear…
Another side note: I can’t remember the last time I took ibuprofen. I’m pretty sure I took more in the last week than I have in the last decade. PSA, when you take ibuprofen it’s basically like dropping a grenade in your gut!
I managed to get through the mastermind and things were getting a little better. Like I said, the massive doses of ibuprofen were taking the edge off and by now it was more of a constant headache without the crazy shooting pain that came with movement…so that was good. ;-b
Saturday, I got a massage at The Transformation Club. Magen did a wonderful job as usual and I felt a LOT better. The headache was still there, but I’d say I was getting below a 5 now.
Then Sunday came…
Constant 8, even 9 at times. It was brutal! Definitely the after effect of the massage. It wasn’t unexpected, but I was hoping I was out of the woods.
That came yesterday.
I woke up feeling pretty good, about a 2.
Of course, the day I finally have an appointment, I’m getting better. ;-b
I still went because I wasn’t sure that it was truly over and, while my chiropractor, massage therapist, and I had a theory, I wanted to get another opinion and some answers.
This is where I have to give HUGE PROPS to New Kingdom Healthcare. They take a much more holistic approach than a typical doctors office. In fact, I didn’t even see an MD. I met with Lori, a Physician’s Assistant, who specializes in headaches, is a naturopath and physical therapist, has a masters in exercise physiology, is trained in craniosacral therapy.
That last one was key…
You see, Magen (massage therapist) has been working with me the past few weeks on my supertight hips and pelvis, and has been doing some very specific work on my psoas.
Quick anatomy lesson:
The psoas is a deep-seated core muscle connecting the lumbar vertebrae to the femur. The psoas major is the biggest and strongest player in a group of muscles called the hip flexors: together they contract to pull the thigh and the torso toward each other.
Oh, and it’s not the easiest muscle to get to. Essentially, the therapist has to go “through” your belly.
Now, what the diagram above doesn’t show is:
- This muscle is probably the single most important postural and structural muscle in the body
- It impacts your organs and your breathing
- It has “connection” to the muscles in your head and neck. Too much to cover here.
- It lies in the center of your “gut” – in terms of instinct and emotion – and is considered the “emotional core”
Without getting all woo-woo on you, #4, along with #3, is critical to understand and the direct link to the intense headache I suffered…
You see, one of the places we “store” trauma (emotional/physical) is in our psoas. This area gets “locked up” and super tight. By the way, one of the most common side effects of psoas tightness is low back pain. Hmmm.
Now, given the craniosacral connection, when one end has “issues” it impacts the other. Our body is always trying to compensate for us.
Well, without getting much longer with this newsletter, when we started to unlock my hip flexors, specifically my psoas, over the last few sessions, it had a major impact on my head…
Physically, loosening up one end of the chain caused a reaction in the other end.
Emotionally, releasing whatever has been locked up sent a lot of toxic energy through my body.
I know, if you’re not familiar with anatomy and physiology or have a hard time with the more “woo-woo” side of things, this can be tough to grasp….
I suppose the reason I’m sharing all of this with you, besides that I typically share what’s going on in my world with you, is that I want to open your mind to a different view the next time you experience pain…whether it be in your head, neck, back, knee or whatever.
Western medicine is so quick to address the symptom. Pop a pill or do surgery.
What we have to understand is that the symptom isn’t the issue…
We need to understand and treat the CAUSE of the symptom. And, we need to recognize that the symptom isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing; it’s just a message telling us what’s going on with our body and it’s giving us an opportunity to address it.
Interestingly enough, in cases like this, we’re so conditioned to bury our emotions, it’s no wonder 80% of Americans have back issues and so many people suffer from headaches and other aches and pains…
I’m actually grateful for this experience.
I will continue to work with Magen weekly, along with Dr. Jeff my chiropractor, and now I’m excited to add in craniosacral therapy and some other physical therapy modalities as well. More tools in my overall wellness creation toolbox. 🙂
I’m looking forward to doing more work to become the best version of myself…
HAVE FAITH & TAKE ACTION!