I was recently contacted by a headache suffer from the north of the country looking for help with a worsening headache she had experienced for the last 5 years.
After spending some time discussing about her situation on the phone I decided that, given the patient lives 5 hours away, she would benefit from starting the OptiNeck Programme as the first step to helping her on the road to recovery.
10 days after sending her the programme and talking it through, I thought I would contact her to see how she was getting on.
This was her reply...
"Hi Michael, thanks for getting in touch, I hope you're well.
In honesty I've been kind of delaying contacting you because, despite not being remotely superstitious or religious, I've been almost afraid that putting this down in words will 'jinx' things...
The fact is that, since starting your exercises 10 days ago, and setting up a proper workstation at home, I haven't had a single headache- NOT ONE!!!!
It is impossible to overstate the significance of this. I've been plagued with these things for five years, and for the past 6 months the intensity and frequency have really escalated. I've been keeping a headache diary during this time and the longest I've managed without any pain has been two days back-to-back- and even then I still suffered the terrible, cloudy-minded, fuzzy-headed kind of 'hungover' fatigue that comes after a bout. That too has completely and utterly vanished. In short, I'm in (joyous) shock and disbelief!
I know that I've probably seemed quite jovial on the phone but the reality is that these headaches have had me severely depressed and utterly obliterated my quality of life for so long. I've been hanging on by a thread: barely able to function at work and fearing that I'd have to give up the business I've worked so hard for and which I love. I've had very little energy or capacity left to be much company for my husband and my social life has ground to halt... I've barely been able to read, concentrate on a film or even walk my dogs. It has dominated every aspect of my life and I was genuinely reaching the point where I felt that I didn't want to go on.
There are simply no words to express the relief and joy that I'm feeling, every single morning when I'm waking up clear headed, sharp-minded and pain-free!!! I feel like I've been handed my life back after feeling so very hopeless and I can never, ever thank you enough for taking the time to help me. I just can't believe such dramatic change has come about so quickly!
I'm finding that good posture is becoming more and more instinctive to me now- I'm much more mindful of how I sit and move, and, as you rightly predicted, the exercises which involve lying on the floor with the ball feel like the ones which are most beneficial to me- though I am sticking to my routine of doing all the ones you highlighted for me, daily. It's a sheer pleasure to feel in control.
Sorry this is such a long message but I am quite delirious and wanted you to understand just how incredible this transformation has been!
Yours with endless gratitude,
While this is a unique situation and even I am surprised at the dramatic improvement in her symptoms, without doubt it underlines the importance of education, understanding and correct use of our bodies, ie posture.
I am obiously very pleased with the progress thus far but would stress that detailed assessment and 1-2-1 treatment is always the best course of action.
Contact us to find out more about how we may be able to help with your headaches and for more about the OptiNeck Programme.
As a physio who specialises in the treatment of neck and neck-related disorders, as well as being an (amateur) racing driver I obviously have a keen interest in head and neck supports and frontal head restraint (FHR) devices.
I have recently seen a patient who has an interesting story. He was referred to see us by his consultant for management of neck pain and dizziness/disorientation.