Archive for tag: headaches

When It Rains, It Pours

This week has been what seems like an ongoing nightmare. I have had a host of weather, car and house problems. The below zero temperatures and snowfall have continued here in Chicago during the worst winter I think I have ever experienced. During one of the large snowstorms, water got into the FRM module in my car (not entirely sure what that is, but apparently it controls the lights). So I had to take my car in for some pricey and lengthy repairs. On top of that, we have been re-doing our master bath at home, so our entire apartment is a mess. There are tools, tile and dust everywhere (or at least it seems like it to me). The good news is, by the end of the week, I should have the car repairs taken care of, the tiling should be finished in the bathroom, and we are supposed to have weather above 30º this weekend and into next week.

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De-stressing with the Olympics

One of the joys and stress-free activities I have had this week is watching the Olympics any free chance that I get. I love everything about the Olympics from the pageantry at the opening ceremonies to the amazingly talented athletes, to the sense of national pride everyone gets as they play out. One of the winter Olympics events that blows my mind are the downhill skiing moguls. Skiers absorb the impact of a series of bumps, and then show off their ability to perform turns, flips, and other tricks on a series of jumps. It's one of those sports that as you watch you are not only amazed at what the athletes can do, but also that anyone can actually do it. With the combination of the fast speeds, series of obstacles, and massive flips, it really is one of the most intense and difficult sporting events.

Treating Headaches

In clinic this week, I had a patient present with headaches and sinus congestion. I particularly enjoy treating headache patients, and I feel like it is one of the areas I excel in treating. After going through a physical exam with the patient, I diagnosed the problem as headaches due to cervicogenic tension and sinus congestion. Most of the patient's pain was centrally located over the area of the frontal sinuses. The pain was described as a throbbing sensation, which changes with the weather, and is worse when bending forward. The patient also has neck pain and cervical muscle tenderness associated with myofascial trigger points, which is characteristic of cervicogenic headache patients. 

For treatment, I have been using a combination of soft tissue work including: soft tissue massage, instrument assisted soft tissue massage, pin and stretch, and post isometric relaxation to the tight cervical muscles. I also have been using chiropractic manipulative therapy to the patient's cervical spine, thoracic spine, and cranium. The final therapy I have been using is acupuncture. Acupuncture is particularly good for sinus congestion and helping to drain those structures. 

The Meaning Behind the Month of June

In Ethical Business Management class this week, we had a guest speaker talk to us about clinical psychology. Dr. David M. Gursky has his PhD in psychology and has over 20 years of experience in the field. The main focus of the talk was being open to any kind of pysch issues that our patients may have in the future, and knowing what issues can be dealt with in the office, and which need to be referred out for specialized care.

Patients tend to be more open with chiropractic or other alternative medicine physicians because we focus on the entire person, focus on the patient in their environment, and because of the treatment setting. The treatment setting in most chiropractic offices has patients gowned for physical examination/treatment, requires physical contact, and induces physical relaxation, all of which sets the stage for patient openness. Some issues that patients might bring up with you include marital dysfunction, anxiety, interpersonal issues, fears, stress, etc. Since well-being is a combination of physical, mental and emotional health, it is very important to help your patients with these psychological issues as well as their musculoskeletal complaints, or refer them to a counselor who can. 

Again, during my downtime this week in class and clinic, I am continuing my reading of Dr. Vasquez's textbook Migraine Headaches, Hypothyroidism, and Fibromyalgia. I finished the chapter on classification, diagnosis, and treatment of headaches. I won't bore you with the hairy details on the types of headaches and treatment, but there were some great treatments that Dr. Vasquez recommended.

Food triggers are the cause of many headaches, especially migraines, and by pinpointing these triggers via a food/headache diary you are able to remove them to remain headache-free. Some common triggers include red wine, aged cheeses, sardines, sausage, and foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG). These triggers contain tyramine, nitrites or other neuroexcitatory substances that start the cascade toward a headache.

Another big cause of headaches is nutritional deficiencies that are so common among Americans today. The standard American diet (S.A.D.) is composed of red meat, sugary desserts, high-fat foods, and refined grains. The S.A.D. is severely lacking in a lot of the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that your body needs daily. Some major things to supplement with to avoid headaches are magnesium, CoQ10, fish oil, vitamin D, and riboflavin. Other treatment options include myofascial trigger point work, chiropractic manipulative therapy, acupuncture, and oxygen therapy.

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My partner and I

This week marks the start of June, which is LGBT Pride Month. Here's a little history of this important month:  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan. The Stonewall riots were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. In the United States, the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as "Gay Pride Day," but the actual day was flexible. In major cities across the nation the "day" soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events. Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia, and concerts, which attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally and internationally. My partner and I will be heading to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this weekend to join in this wonderful celebration with close friends and family.