“If I go for chiropractic adjustments once a week, I’m OK. But if I skip a week, my migraines start to come back.”
At 42, Shelagh was an active mom of three boys, who turned to inline skating and sprint triathlons to shake off stress and stay in shape. Then daily, debilitating migraines stopped all that.
The pain and sensitivity to light and sound left her in bed, curtains drawn, 22 hours a day, and dependent on others to help take care of her family.
“The pain woke me up in the morning and got worse as the day went on,” she recalls. “Even somebody putting a fork on the counter was like a knife stabbing my brain. My boys learned how to whisper around me.”
Chinese Medicine for Migraines
According to the Migraine Research Foundation, migraines affect one billion people worldwide, including 18 percent of women.
Up to that point, Shelagh had experienced migraines, but only once or twice a year. So when they escalated not long after a hard fall during inline skating, she suspected the two were linked.
She had hit the pavement with enough force to smash her tailbone and momentarily black out.
“It was the worst pain of my life,” she recalls. “I was black, blue and swollen. I sat on a donut for over a year.”
Half a Dozen Migraine Modalities – No Change in Pain
To ease her migraines, a doctor recommended high, daily doses of the steroid, prednisone. While the medication boosted her energy, it didn’t touch her pain levels.
Next, Shelagh took her troubles to a neurologist, who attempted to address the problem with more prescriptions, nerve blocks and botox injections. Again, none brought any relief.
Next, she turned to Chinese medicine. While her migraines still came on, acupuncture treatments took the edge off the pain for a few hours or days.
Her search for further relief took her to massage therapy, cranial sacral therapy and months of physical therapy – none of which successfully changed her pain.
She did, however, find another measure of relief with a mix of various essential oils from Young Living, including peppermint and their Panaway and Deep Relief mixes.
“Essential oils were the only thing that took the edge off,” she says. “They didn’t take away the pain completely, but worked much better for me than any of the over-the-counter or prescription pain meds – and I didn’t have to worry about them damaging my liver.”
Chiropractic Care for Migraines
On the advice of others, she reluctantly saw a chiropractor for the first time – worried that adjustments would leave her disabled. But the endless pain swayed her to try it.
After her second adjustment, she was suddenly pain-free for one blissful hour, before the pain crept back in.
For several months, regular treatments helped for short periods of time…but that relief was only temporary.
Upon seeing another, recommended chiropractor, she finally found an answer and longer-term relief. Through x-rays, the doctor found that her C1 vertebrae was tilted at such an angle that he suspected that to be the cause.
“The C1 vertebrae is supposed to be at an angle of 8-10 percent and mine was at 38 percent!” she says. “It was compressing all those nerves.”
She learned that the trauma from her fall had caused whiplash, and likely, the tilt in her vertebrae.
At regular treatments, the doctor adjusted her atlas vertebrae at the base of her skull, and then used a machine for cervical spine decompression.
At first, Shelagh went three to four times every week until she finally improved enough to go just once a week.
No More Migraines – Thanks to Weekly Adjustments
Ultimately, that combination and frequency of adjustments and decompression have helped her hold off recurring migraines.
“If I go for chiropractic adjustments once a week, I’m OK,” she says. “But if I skip a week, my migraines start to come back.”
Today, she’s thankful for the relief and for her family’s support through the ups and downs.
“I’m so grateful for my in-laws, who helped with my kids, and for my husband,” she says. “I’d be in bed and he’d ask, ‘What can I get you? What do you need? I feel like I’m really one of the lucky ones.”
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