Monday, September 21, 2009

I survived my first Tui Na session!

I know it sounds ridiculous, but I've been dreading my first 30-minute Tui Na massage. The 5-minute "previews" I've had at the end of acupuncture just about made me cry from pain, so I didn't know if I could handle this one.

Well I'm typing this after my massage, so obviously it didn't kill me. It was definitely painful though! Apparently I have really tight back, shoulder and neck muscles and big knots. I don't know if they're from my headaches or if they're causing my headaches (famous chicken/egg dilemma). But I'm going to try it a few times to see if it helps.

My headaches are getting much more frequent - I've only had five days this month without one - so I'm going to call my neuro tomorrow to see if the new clinic is accepting my insurance yet. I haven't been to a neuro since April which is ridiculous. If they're not accepting my insurance, I'll go to my previous neuro. I really liked him, but I felt he ran out of options with me. But I have to do something!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Invisible Illness Week - Free Online Seminars

I normally don't post back-to-back, so if you missed my post on massage, please see below.

But I couldn't resist writing a quick note on the Invisible Illness Week free online seminars.

Jasmine's blog post summarizes it with links. You don't have to catch the seminars live - you can listen afterward too. Thanks Lisa for arranging these seminars!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Goodbye Acupuncture, Hello Tui Na Massage

I've been seeing an acupuncturist once a week for about 15 weeks now. Acupuncture, from what I've read, generally works for those with headaches in 3-12 visits, so I knew it was time to give up. Today's session was pretty rough. I'm having a menstrual migraine and have all the associated My acupuncturist was convinced he was going to get rid of the migraine so he put needles all over my head. It hurt to talk and even smile. After maybe 30-40 minutes (I was dozing on and off), he took the needles out and I still had the headache, so he tried other points on my feet, legs and hands for 10 minutes. That didn't work either, and he kept shaking his head and said how that works for almost everyone. I sensed that he was about to say that acupuncture wouldn't work for me, so I said it for him. I had an alternate in mind though.

During some prior sessions, my acupuncturist, when he had time, would do a painful head/neck/shoulder massage at the end of some treatments, so I asked him if I could just do the massages from now on instead of acupuncture. I was paying $40 a session for acupuncture, and 30 minutes of massage is $45, so it's not too much more (of course my husband, who wants me to quit it all, just about had a cow when I told him). My acupuncturist gave me a massage at the end of my session today and I told him I didn't think I could stand 30 minutes of it (it HURTS) but he said he would start lighter to loosen my muscles and it wouldn't be that bad. I was lying face down today and at one point I had to lift my head so he'd stop because the pain was making me feel faint.

The type of massage is called Tui Na, described here - note this is just a random Web site I found from a google search, not my acupuncturist, but I liked the description.

I'll probably try this for two months or so to see if it helps, and boy do I hope it does.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel Results

I saw my internist for the second time last week. I'm probably going to continue seeing him as my "family doctor" since I don't really have one, but I'm giving up on him for migraine help. He again encouraged me to see a neurologist, and he didn't have any other advice to offer. Since my current neuro who left the old clinic to start her own clinic is in the process of getting my health insurance added, I'm still in waiting mode there.

My internist was nice enough to let me go through a list of questions (no sarcasm here; some doctors rush you out as quickly as possible), and one of my questions was if I should get my liver tested, because some people have commented on this blog about this and also I've been on so many meds the last few years, I wanted to make sure it was ok. So I had a "comprehensive metabolic panel" blood test, which also tested my kidneys and other things.

Everything was normal. But, once again I've ruled out one more thing, so that's less to worry about!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Book Review: TMWtEiIhHaM

I'm going through a headache book reading spree, and my first review is the book with a mouthful title, "Tell Me What to Eat if I have Headaches and Migraines" by Elaine Magee, M.P.H., R.D. The foreword was written by Frederick Freitag, D.O., Diamond Headache Clinic.

This was an overall informative book of foods and drinks that commonly trigger headaches. I'm sure you've heard all about these, but here's a list (not all-inclusive, of course):
  • chocolate
  • caffeine
  • red wine
  • tyramine (aged cheeses, alcoholic beverages, some processed meats, avocados, overripe bananas, chocolate, nutes, seeds, pork, venison, soy-based foods
  • nitrates/nitrites, MSG, & other possible additives
  • aspartame
  • fatty foods
Other tips:
  • Eliminate suspect foods from your diet for 1-4 weeks
  • "Ok" cheeses are: cottage cheese, cream cheese, Monterey Jack, and fresh or low moisture mozzarella
  • Women 31 or older should take 320 milligrams of magnesium to help with hormonal headaches
  • Nitrates/nitrites are mostly in cured meats and are usually on the ingredients label
What stood out as very negative to me was the part on MSG. I have MSG intolerance not related to my headaches and therefore have a lot of knowledge on the subject. The section only listed products that contain MSG and didn't even mention hidden names such as autolyzed yeast extract. The book is from 2005, so there are lots of new products not mentioned that contain MSG! Plus, some products now do not contain it because of the organic trend. And, some recipes listed in the book could easily have MSG in them if you're not careful.

This was a good intro to nutrition related to headaches, and it's a quick read, so I'll let you decide if you want to look into it further.

I'm still putting off going on a migraine trigger elimination diet because I'm enjoying food too much after ending my gluten-free diet.


Headache update: I only had two headaches on vacation and they started in the evening my last two days and didn't get bad enough to require meds. It was great! I had a migraine when I got back but I took the red-eye flight and didn't sleep, and then napped the whole next day, so that was my fault. When I saw my acupuncturist Monday he said my neck and head felt great - hardly any knots and muscle tension like I usually have. He said I should take vacations more often. I wish. :)