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Physical Therapy: Weak Muscles, Scar Tissue & Posture

Physical therapy looks like a promising migraine/headache treatment for me. We made progress in the first two sessions and my third tomorrow. His take makes a lot of sense to me.

Weak muscles in my back are partly to blame for neck pain. Envision your back as a lollipop stem. The tasty part of the lollipop will be firmly on top if the stem is solid. If not, the candy will flop around on the stick.

When your neck isn’t sturdy on its stem, it also moves around. Muscles and tissue tighten to compensate, moving muscle, tissue and bone out of place. Strengthening little used muscles, which align the neck and hold its correct position, is part of the solution.

Built up scar tissue on the left side of my neck is another culprit. The scars have essentially fused two muscles, keeping both from working properly. Myofascial release from my physical and massage therapists will loosen the scar tissue, although it is so old that some will remain.

Interestingly, the scar tissue isn’t on the right side, where my occipital nerve stimulator wires were. The physical therapist believes it is connected to car accidents I had in high school. No injuries were treated after the accidents because I didn’t notice any. Yet, he said even the most minor accident could have contributed.

I’m working on my posture too. Instead of pushing my shoulders down, which I’ve always thought was the way to correct bad posture, I’m lifting my sternum to be upright. Looking in the mirror, my “corrected” posture looks strange, but it feels great.

My treatment path is promising. Still, I wonder if I’m just searching for a culprit. Time and time again, anything possibly connected to my migraines becomes my focus. After a particular treatment doesn’t work, I move to the next explanation with as much fervor as the last.

I’m fond of this one for now. It echoes what I’ve learned from yoga and massage therapy and repetition is reassuring. My fingers are crossed and my outlook is good.

7 Responses to Physical Therapy: Weak Muscles, Scar Tissue & Posture

  1. Megan Oltman says:

    Hey Kerri – Sounds encouraging! Keep us posted! I figure whatever helps me calm my system down and keep it that way, has got to help.

    – Megs
    meganoltmanfreemybrain.typepad.com

  2. Megan Oltman says:

    Hey Kerri – Sounds encouraging! Keep us posted! I figure whatever helps me calm my system down and keep it that way, has got to help.

    – Megs
    meganoltmanfreemybrain.typepad.com

  3. Bob Brancato says:

    Hi Kerri,

    I can empathize with your pain. I’m a 12 year cluster headache sufferer. Same, but different. I won’t bore you with the myriad roads I’ve been down searching for relief. Just my opinions, but I’ve a few caveats.

    Clusters and migraines are vascular headaches. Blood vessels swell and annoy the surrounding nerves. Acupuncture, chiropracty, and associated treatments are a waste of time. Physical therapy, while potentially good for tension headaches, is just good exercise.

    Routine sleep patterns seem to help. Anything promoting vascular health is good. Quitting smoking and alcohol are great starts. Magnesium supplements make sense, but don’t help everyone. The most reliable relief is found in the family of drugs called triptans, Imitrex being the best known. For the drug averse, they’re considered very safe and have a short half life, typically out of your system in about 6 hours. I’ve used them for 9 years with no ill effects. Cluster headaches are a different beast. The pain’s more intense, but shorter in duration. Triptans “shrink” the offending vessels. People with cardiac, or potential cardiac problems should discuss their headaches with their doctor before considering triptans.

    Best of luck for pain free days,

    Bob

    PS- I don’t mean to sound like an expert, I’m certainly not, and hope I provided some new info. I REALLY realte to people with severe headache pain.

  4. Dave says:

    Kerrie,

    I’m a CDH sufferer for over 3 years now. Sucks. BUT, about two weeks ago my doc placed me on muscle relaxant Baclofen, which I have not tried….after many many other meds. Have you gone this route yet? It’s worth trying if you haven’t, and it’s cheap. I’ll keep reading your blog.

  5. emily says:

    i’m glad you’re seeing some positive results! my fingers are crossed that the improvements will continue!

  6. Mavis says:

    Hi Kerrie,
    I have recently had mentioned to me to try either a physical therapist or a chiropractor for my migraines. Have you ever had any advide on the difference in trying either discipline and how effective either is? Thank you
    MV

  7. Megan says:

    Hi Mavis –
    Kerrie is on vacation until late July; I’m doing my best to hold the fort while she’s gone. I will share that I have used chiropractic for years. While it has helped me a lot with both injuries and with just keeping my body “in tune” and avoiding aches and pains, it has not had much impact on my migraines. If I go a long time without a treatment I am slightly more migraine prone, probably from accumulated muscle tension. I can’t give you an opinion on the physical therapy, but it seems to have helped Kerrie!
    – Megan
    http://meganoltmanfreemybrain.typepad.com

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