Migraine and Physical Therapy – Stepping off the Edge

Migraine and Physical Therapy – Stepping off the Edge

Migraines have been so disabling for me for so long, that the body which used to be athletic and strong, barely even resembles what it did just before disability. Bebes, you should have seen my abs, lol.

I’m at the stage of my Migraine disease that appearances really don’t matter to me anymore though. It’s all about how I feel. So, I reluctantly let myself go, because in all my terrible pain, that’s what felt better.

I did undergo physical therapy multiple times, all resulting in greatly increased Migraine triggers that I can’t even begin to explain. I flunked it each time.  The old personal trainer in me took it over myself, with varying results. I obviously needed a new approach.

I have significant spinal disease. Unfortunately the pain finally got to be too much for me. I was rolling about in bed in tears, moaning in pain, unable to sleep for weeks without heavy sedation. Not even my beloved heating pad was doing its job very well. I couldn’t stand, sit, walk or even lay flat without excruciating pain. Lucky me, I had daily Migraines to top it all off. My doctors couldn’t help me anymore and prescribed the dreaded opiates. I begged for options, but there were none.


Between the Migraines and the nerve pain I experienced simultaneously, I was a mess. When it got out of control, I would end up sitting in the bathtub with hot water from the shower pounding on me, sobbing as I tried to distract myself back into control over my reaction to what I was feeling. I have always believed that the pain is often beyond my direct control, but how I react to it is. So, I try to control what I can.

I ended up alone, stuck in the tub, unable to get out by myself, and just praying for the sedatives I’d taken to hit me so I would finally attain unconsciousness.

I finally broke down and agreed to see a pain management specialist, but my doctors and I agreed that we would try to get me into a holding pattern with medications and whatever else I needed, just to get me through the anniversary trip we’d planned for the last two years. I would see pain management after our trip. I counted the days.

The day came. I was super nervous because I’ve had a problem with doctors not understanding Migraine, medication overuse headache, and how all my complicated comorbid conditions fit together. I’ve endured overblown promises of a cure, de-moralization, frustration and anger, to name a few things. Despite the fact I’d had a great experience with this doctor years before for occipital nerve blocks and a blood patch after a lumbar puncture, I really didn’t know what to expect.

She suggested and performed, a caudal epidural injection that day to try to give me a break from what was happening to me, and as an attempt to get things under control at least to the point I could try to get off the dreaded opiates.

The epidural was fabulous, and I’ll write about it later. However the thing I’m looking forward to the most, is the physical therapy she agreed to help me with.

I spent over ten years as a competitive swimmer. I love the water. However, due to my autoimmune issues, I haven’t hit the water in years unless it was a shower or a bath tub. This summer I did purchase a triathlon wetsuit so I could swim during vacation, and did manage one hour in the pool – one hour of decreased pain and increased ability to move. So I was eager to try aqua therapy.

My first appointment for evaluation by the therapist is this afternoon. Her name is Marci and I am very excited to talk with her. I have known for a long time that my core has been seriously weakened by my inability to move and exercise as I need. I know I will be very limited in what I can do, but I am dedicating whatever it takes at this point to get better.

The fact is, if this doesn’t work, there is little left for me. I’m not willing to accept that.

So, here I go… stepping off the edge of the pool and into scary unknown waters…

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