It’s easy to get lost in our medical system, especially if you’re dealing with migraines and headaches. Here’s a quick patient story, one I hear way more often than I should. The good news is there is a solution!
The Broken System – A Patient Story of Migraines
A late 30s female comes to my office with terrible headaches and a burning sensation along the back and top of her head. Of course she goes to her family doctor who gives her a medication and refers her to a neurologist. The neurologist does a full work up including a cat scan and everything is normal, so they prescribed migraine medications. That doesn’t help so she gets put on an anti-depressant and a nerve medication. That doesn’t help so the neurologist refers her to pain management. Pain management prescribes hydrocodone, muscle relaxers, does cortisone injections, nerve blocks, nerve ablation, and then finally says they have no clue and refers her to another neurologist. This neurologist again thinks it’s a migraine and just puts her back on a different ssri antidepressant and doubles the amount of nerve medication she was previously on. She doesn’t feel any better.
A Different Approach
So now she comes to me, Dr. Josh Hanson in Tampa, FL. You show up in my office because you’re ready to be heard, you’re ready for one person to put the pieces of your puzzle together and come up with a plan. You’re sick of being put on medication after medication.
I listened to her story, then performed a detailed hands on physical exam of her neck and head.
My goal was to reproduce her pain with the exam, because if I was able to do so I knew I could help her.
Turns out she did not have migraines
Most patients believe that the most common cause of headaches is a vascular event of the brain called a migraine. The research and my clinical experience show this isn’t even close to true. There are a bunch of things in your upper neck that can cause headaches. This includes several nerves (i.e. occipital nerves) and joints (C0-C3 facet joints). When these things cause headaches, it’s called a cervicogenic headache.
She was being put on loads of medications for the wrong problem. Her pain was coming from irritated nerves in her neck. So with some very targeted dry needling, electro-acupuncture and Perineural injections of 5% dextrose I was able to get her pain reduced by 30-40% in a just a week.
We’ve repeated this process a few times and I’m happy to say she reports being about 80% better and off all of those medications that didn’t help and were for the wrong problem.
The difference between how I approach a condition and how your regular doctor approaches a condition is that your normal doctor likely only knows how to name a disease and match it with a medication or procedure that burns blocks or cuts out the problem.
Instead my job is to take a 3d look at the whole body and all of its interconnected parts. Then to use the tools I have (dry needling, acupuncture, prolotherapy) which help to regenerate and restore balance.
The good news
If you have headaches or migraines there’s a lot that can be done to help reduce how often you experience them and how bad they get. So reach out with a call or text to 813-534-0311 or book a visit below and let’s get you on the path to feeling better!