Headaches And Pain… Oh, My!

For me, the pain associated with headaches could be debilitating at times. So much so, I would sometimes just want to crawl in bed and cry like a baby until I fell asleep; however, when I first experienced PNMT, I quickly realized that there were other options out there aside from mainstream treatments. More on that later!

Before I go over the different types of headaches though, I feel it’s important that I share some RED FLAGS that I learned through becoming certified in PNMT:

  • See a physician to have other possible causes ruled out if the headaches are a new occurrence—the number of serious problems that have headaches as a side-effect is numerous.
  • See if physician immediately if you have any other global health declines.
  • See a physician if you’ve had headaches in the past but they are different in frequency, intensity, and/or location.
  • See a physician if you’ve had headaches for a long time but now they are daily; accompanied by GI symptoms, restlessness, anxiety, irritability, memory problems, difficulty in intellectual concentration, and depression. This could be considered analgesic rebound; analgesic overuse being very common.

Now, onward with different types of headaches. I will include some bullet points and reference the clinical studies, which happens to be where I got most of my information from…

TENSION HEADACHES – In the U.S., these account for 1-4% of all emergency room visits and is the 9th most common reason for doctor visits; being the most common type of chronic recurring head pain. All ages are susceptible, but most are young adults. — Michelle Blanda, MD; Tension Headache Clinical Presentation

  • These are usually associated with a stressful event, poor posture, or depression; and are not aggravated by physical activity.
  • They are of moderate intensity but can have a throbbing quality, are bilateral, and usually present in the occipitofrontal region.
  • They typically last 30-minutes up to 7-days.
  • Muscular tightness or stiffness in the neck, occipital, and frontal regions is common.
  • Cervical muscles, when palpated, may be very tender.
  • Nausea or vomiting is not present.
  • Insomnia is present.
  • Often present upon rising or shortly thereafter.

MIGRAINE HEADACHES – This disorder is one of the most common complaints in medicine. In the U.S., more than 30 million people have one or more migraines per year. — Jasvinder Chawla, MD; Migraine Headache

  • They typically throb or pulsate.
  • The pain is initially unilateral (on one side) and localized to the Temporalis and Frontalis muscles, or over the eye, but can be felt anywhere around the head or neck.
  • The pain typically builds up over a 1- to 2-hour period and then slowly diffuses towards the back of the head.
  • They typically last 4-72 hours; usually subsiding gradually within a day, and after a period of sleep.
  • Intensity is moderate to severe and intensifies with movement or physical activity.
  • Light and sound sensitivity are very common.
  • Nausea occurs in about 80% of migraines; vomiting in about 50%.
  • Other interesting symptoms include:
    – About 60% of people reported prodrome (preheadache) symptoms hours to days prior to the migraine. Postdrome symptoms may persist for 24-hours after the headache.
    – Auras—which can be visual, sensory, motor, or any combination of these—usually develop over 5-20 minutes and lasts less than 60 minutes.

CLUSTER HEADACHES – In the U.S., it is estimated that 2-9% of migraine sufferers experience these, making it relatively uncommon compared to the classic migraine. This condition is more common in males than in females. — Lori K Sargeant, MD; Headache, Cluster

  • No aura exists like they do in migraines.
  • Sudden onset peaks in 10- to 15-minutes; duration lasts 10-minutes to 3-hours per episode; frequency may occur several times a day for 1- to 4-months.
  • Typically, 1-2 cluster periods are experienced per year; each lasting 2- to 3- months.
  • The pain associated with is described as severe; as if the eye is being pushed out.
  • They are often nocturnal—active at night.
  • Triggers in some patients include stress, allergens, and seasonal changes.
  • Alcohol and smoking induce attacks during a cluster but not during remission.
  • Risk factors include: male sex; older than 30-years; small amounts of alcohol; previous head trauma or surgery (occasionally).

CERVICOGENIC HEADACHES – The presence of these headaches in the general population is estimated to be between 0.4% and 2.5%; however, the prevalence is as high as 20% in pain management clinics. This condition is four times more common in women than in men. — David Biondi, DO; Cervicogenic Headache: A Review of Diagnostic and Treatment Strategies

  • This condition is a relatively common cause of chronic headaches that is often misdiagnosed or unrecognized; clinical features may mimic those commonly associated with other headache disorders, making this headache hard to distinguish.
  • They involve head pain that is referred from bony structures or soft-tissues of the neck; TrP’s are usually found in the suboccipital, cervical, and shoulder musculature.
  • These often develop after a head or neck injury, but may also occur in the absence of trauma.
  • They are typically described as a deep—or dull—pain that radiates from the occipital to parietal, temporal, frontal, and periorbital regions.
  • Sufferers will often have restricted cervical range of motion and altered neck posture.
  • Head pain can be triggered or reproduced by active neck movement.
  • Paresthesia and numbness over the occipital scalp are usually present.
  • Many sufferers overuse or become dependent on analgesics; medication, when used alone, does not generally provide substantial pain relief.

As stated earlier in this post, I have suffered from headaches for many years, but not so much over the past five years due to the powerful effects of PNMT. In fact, many of my clients have suffered from them as well—that is until I got my hands on them. 🙂

Believe it or not, muscle involvement—which is stated in some of the above mentioned headache descriptions—can be a huge contributing factor that is definitely worth looking in to. In fact, the SCM, Longus Colli, Trapezius, and the Suboccipital muscles are just a few examples that can mimic or refer headache-related pain. Also note that muscular-skeletal alignment is a key factor as rubbing where it hurts won’t solve the problem.

If this post strikes a cord with you, consider looking for a massage therapist as an alternative option for headache related pain-relief!

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“Neutral balance alignment is key to becoming pain free!”™ ~ Me

Types Of Back Pain And Red Flags

So many people suffer from back pain; myself included, but not nearly as frequently compared to my past. It wasn’t until 2006 while in massage school, when PNMT was first introduced to me, that I ultimately got relief—this fact being why I specialize in it today! With that said, let me start off by giving you the short version of my not-so-lovely experience with low-back pain…

My issues started when I was a freshman in high school, that being in 1990—I can’t believe I just aged myself. After many visits to different medical professionals over the years, it wasn’t until the year 2000 that I was officially diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, spondylosis, two degenerative discs, one disc “protrusion”, and arthritis; all in the lumbar spine. Oh, I should also mention that I was diagnosed with sciatica. Ugh! I couldn’t believe that I had this much going on at the young age of 25, and for me, the pain was exhausting; both mentally and physically. Anyway, back to this in a few.

Does any of this sound familiar? Assuming it does, I am going to move on to the different types of back pain and where it can stem from. Yay! The following examples could relate to the upper-, middle-, and/or low-back…

  • Pain from the disc, which is richly supplied by nerves
  • Pain from facet joints
  • Pain from muscle and soft tissue mechanisms
  • Pain from SI joint issues
  • Pain from trigger points

There are many possible causes associated with back pain, but I wanted to give you some examples where PNMT would be beneficial, since it is designed to treat pain that is mechanical related; soft-tissue in origin. But, what if back pain is not soft-tissue related? Well, it is my job to rule out other causes, and to know when it is in my client’s best interest to refer to a medical professional. So, how about I be up-front with some red flags? First and foremost, it is important to know that mechanical (musculoskeletal) pain is made better or worse with movement. If movement has no effect whatsoever, consider that a red flag for treatment, and schedule an appointment with your doctor. Some other red flags related to back pain are as follows…

  • Pain that throbs, is nocturnal, and is worsened by activity
  • Pain that is accompanied by shortness of breath
  • Pain that is accompanied by a loss of appetite
  • Pain that is accompanied by a fever or night sweats
  • Pain is accompanied by swelling that is not associated with an injury
  • If pain is like bilateral sciatica—affecting both sides—causing problems with the lower extremities, bowel, or bladder dysfunction; this could be cauda equina syndrome, a massive extrusion of nuclear material into the spinal canal, which causes an acute loss of function of the lumbar plexus.

Now, back to my own low-back issues. Despite all of the depressing diagnoses I was given way back when, I have lived a relatively pain-free lifestyle since 2006 due to PNMT, and MANY thanks go to my mentor for treating me and educating me on this awesome non-invasive treatment option for pain and dysfunction. You rock, Bill!

That’s all for now, folks! Stay tuned for whatever it is I decide to write about next, and as always, I hope you find this information informative!

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“Neutral balance alignment is key to becoming pain free!” ~ Me