Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Migraine Event! Twitter chat with Expert Dr. Lipton

After about an hour explaining what Twitter is to my Dad he goes "Yes, darling, but what IS Twitter."

I gave up. You have to use it to understand it. And hopefully you do because today the fabulous Diana Lee, of SomebodyHealMe is moderating a live Twitter chat (in conjunction with Montefiore Headache Centre and the Migraine Research Foundation) with eminent migraine expert Dr Lipton at 2pm EST (that's USA time.) So here in the UK that's more like 7pm. I think I've got that right. You can email/tweet Diana your migraine questions in advance. Please do, this is an all too rare chance to get advice from an actual Headache expert.

Go to http://tweetchat.com/room/migrainechat or follow the #migrainechat hashtag to participate.

Full details below.

(p.s Stephen Fry I'm still waiting for you to 'follow' me back. Dad, I'll explain what that means another day.)



http://tweetchat.com/room/migrainechat

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Healer


“Darling I’ve booked us to see a Healer next week. Apparently she’s just amazing and lovely. Isn’t that wonderful?”

My soy chai tea latte dribbled down my chin as my mouth slowly fell open. This is it, I thought, Mum has finally gone senile.

“What, on earth, are you talking about Mum?”

And to cut a very long and tortuous story to its core, yes, two weeks ago I went to see a Healer. Here are the reasons why:

1.    The source of the recommendation.
The family friends who told us about their success with this Healer were the last people on the planet I’d ever expect to be waxing lyrical about such an unconventional treatment method. The husband used to be in the Army, and hurt his back falling off a horse. The Healer has been the only person to really have helped him in any way.

2.    Mum is often right.
After much pouting, I remembered it was Mum who bullied me into seeing yet another Physiotherapist and, as you may know, my current physiotherapist has made the biggest impact on my pain and migraine management. It’s also Mum who tirelessly persuades me to seek yet another Medical opinion saying, “It can’t hurt to ask, we might learn something, even if most of the hour is wasted, we’re bound to come out having learnt a little something.” So, I decided to trust her instincts yet again. (She didn’t pay me to write this.)

3.    The session would be free and the Healer would hardly touch me.
This really clinched the deal for me. Apparently the Healer only asks for a donation to a charity she runs and she hardly touches you – so I decided she could do me no damage. I must also admit the rather evil part of me thought this whole experience is going to make the funniest blog ever!!

The morning of the healing arrived. Dad asked me how I was feeling. I held my hands up to heaven and in my best Southern Preacher accent said:

“I see the light! I feel a healin’ coming on today!”

“Oh stop being such a sarky little Bitch,” quipped Dad.

“Yes Daddy.” I said in my best Queen’s English, and wondered how I’d get through my healing without dissolving into a fit of giggles. Anyone who knows me will know this is one of my most charming flaws. I then also got a life lecture from Dad (complete with quotes from Hamlet) about the mysteries of Science and Christianity.




 Thus, it really was with an open mind that I knocked on the door of a rather beautiful house in North London later that afternoon. I do believe that, as a migraineur, you should try any and everything that could possibly help and comfort you. I wasn’t paying, she wasn’t going to really touch me, what did I have to lose? And, after all, this was going to be the funniest blog I was ever going to write? Right?

But then I met the Healer. And she really is, quite possibly, the nicest and most genuine person you’ll ever meet. All she wants to do is help you get better.

And she is the exact opposite of what I was expecting. In fact, the whole experience bore no resemblance to the séance I had conjured up in my overactive imagination. I was expecting her to be the stereotypical sandals, candles and bangles. Not this lady. By the way she really is a Lady. Her husband was a distinguished soldier and, as she told me, ‘quite someone’. The downstairs loo of her house is littered with framed letters from the royal family. She also didn’t tell me (she’s too modest) that she once represented her country in the Olympics! No, this is not your average fair ground, crystal ball healer. As Mum described it, “she’s the kind of woman upon which the Empire was built.”

She was also quite embarrassed when I called her a Healer and said “Well I just put my hands on people really, I’m still learning how it all works. It’s to do with energy.” I think she’s being modest. She originally trained as a physiotherapist but noticed that her patients seemed to get better much faster than everyone else’s. This also put me at ease, as I felt she truly understood my complex neck problems when I explained them to her.

The session itself was not only deeply relaxing but great fun. She’s full of fabulous stories, I would happily go back just to chat with her (and snoop around her fantastic house!) At first I sat upright on the sofa, and she gently put her hands on the back of my neck. Her hands became boiling hot, which freaked me out a bit. If I had to describe the sensation I’d say it was a bit like an Alexander Technique lesson mixed with Craniosacral Therapy. I kept feeling like she was gently pulling my head up and back, so asked her to stop, but then realized her hands hadn’t moved at all. We then continued with me lying down as I wasn’t happy with tilting my head back.


And then events seriously took a turn for the strange. The man who works in her study upstairs came to work on me too. Man Upstairs (as I shall call him) has a unique gift. My lovely Healer Lady described him as being a human MRI machine. He describes his abilities much more eloquently and in far greater detail, he is also a Healer, but not a hands on Healer; he can see your illness, he can see your energies, I believe, as well as your bones etc. I’m not describing it very well but think of him as a human X-ray machine. And this was the one point in the whole proceedings when I really thought I was going to get a fit of giggles. He’s a very nice man, again not at all what you’d expect, very neatly and conventionally dressed (not in a turban and robes or anything outlandish.) He stood in front of me, explained what he did and how he was able to tell my Healer Lady where to place her hands and he then stared at me as if I was naked.

And here’s the rather creepy/scary/amazing part. He proceeded to repeat, almost verbatim, my latest set of MRI and X-ray results.

Pointing at parts of my body, starting with my head, he said: “She’s got bulging discs in her neck about there, bit of a twisted spine there” and on he went… apparently I also have deformed ankles! It really was quite impressive. I guess some of it most physio's could do as well, such as uneven collar bones, tight thoracic spine etc, but I was still impressed. All my Healer Lady had told him was that I had migraines and an old whiplash injury, which is only the tip of the iceberg but all I felt like divulging. I then divulged that my left hand and shoulder often go numb, have pins and needles (part of my cervical radiculoapthy) and Man Upstairs said he could “see” that the nerve had "retreated" up my arm…

They then worked together, Man Upstairs telling my Healer Lady where to place her hands to start correcting some of the many things apparently wrong with me. But, they both assured me, I was fixable, and it would take at least 3 sessions.

So, after session one how did I feel? Before I went I was actually starting to get a left sided migraine, I had that horrible pinching pain and tightness down my left side. As an experiment I decided not to take any painkillers, as I usually would, and during the session she completely relaxed my shoulder muscles and arms, and the pain did go away while I was with her. At the end of the session she looked at me and said, “Gosh, you did look quite ghastly when you came but now your face looks normal.” The migraine didn’t develop.

I am under no illusions that there is a cure for migraine. But I so loved my Healer Lady, and when I was with her the pain was a little better, that I’ve decided I’m going to go back for two more sessions. Why not? Annoyingly, I had to miss the second session so Dad took my place. He wants to see what they can do with his hand tremor. One condition of my attendance was Mum going too (she also gets migraines) so the Saxton family will keep you posted on our progress! As I write this Mum is actually having her second go… she’s going to have the human X-ray this time, so I’m looking forward to hearing about that!

This is, far and away, the craziest thing I’ve ever done in the pursuit of a migraine free life. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done? 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

It's all in the Genes!

Looks like we really can blame our parents for everything!

On Sunday an exciting new discovery was revealed by Scientists. I'm not going to try and summarise it myself this time - just read below! And then we can discuss... but I'm excited as studies like this do so much to help many of the myths and misconceptions surrounding migraines. I'm also pretty sure they'll soon discover the 'genius' gene that leads to migraines...

Anyway.

Taken from MedicineNet.com

SUNDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Two more genetic links to migraines have been discovered, a finding experts acknowledge won't yet help those suffering from the throbbing headaches but may one day lead to new therapies.

Comparing the DNA of more than 2,300 patients afflicted with migraines without aura -- the most common type -- with 4,580 people in the general population, German and Dutch scientists spotted two gene variants associated with that migraine form. The research, authored by Arn van den Maagdenberg of Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, builds on a U.S. study released last year identifying three genes linked to migraines that suggested those inheriting any one of those genes had a 10 percent to 15 percent greater risk for the condition.
"Migraines are under-treated, under-recognized and under-diagnosed, especially with common migraines that don't have any of the dramatic symptoms," said Dr. Gayatri Devi, an attending neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "A lot of times, people feel it's their fault or thatstress causes them . . . it's nice to know there are genetic basis for illnesses and it's not all in your head."
The study is published online June 10 in the journal Nature Genetics.

Further Reading:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/246396.php 
http://migraine.com/blog/new-research-reveals-genetic-clues-to-migraine-without-aura/


 In other exciting news: Last week I went to see... A Healer!!! Yes, it's true. More details to follow... 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

5 reasons a migraine isn't just a headache

Migraine.com
Above taken from:

http://migraine.com/infographic/5-reasons-a-migraine-isnt-just-a-headache/

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. There is also a  Blogger’s Challenge initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.
To help raise awareness about Migraine, please Tweet this post with the hash tags #NMAM and #NMAMBC and share it on your Facebook page. Thank you!

For further info on National Migraine Awareness Month and how to get involved:
http://migraine.com/blog/news/june-is-national-migraine-awareness-month/

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Living in Wales is bad for migraines but Australia holds the cure?!

Good people of the Commonwealth I have sad news. Living in Wales is bad for migraines. Rather appropriately, this devastating blow was delivered to me by a Welsh friend via a fabulous article in The Daily Mail. 


Apparently, living in a very windy place, such as Wales, can trigger migraines. So, where shall we migraineurs move to?

Well, let's not move to Norfolk Island, Australia. 12% of Australians suffer from migraines compared to 27% of the inhabitants of Norfolk. DNA was recently sampled from 300 of the Islanders, most of whom can trace their ancestry back to that famous Mutiny on the Bounty. Although this sounds slightly inbred (and the perfect setting for a sci-fi flick) it makes them the perfect scientific guinepigs. And indeed researchers at Griffith Health Institute have discovered "a new region on the X chromosome" that is playing a part in migraines - so says Professor Lyn Griffiths. This is highly exciting, even though I have no idea what it really means, as it could lead to a better understanding of what the hell migraines are, how to treat and diagnose them. So now I shall stop being rude about the Norfolk folk as they may hold the key to discovering more about migraine disease. But isn't it fitting that another part of the Commonwealth may hold the key, yes I'm still in Jubilee spirits!

In the mean time, I am open to suggestions of where I should have my migraine free house. I'm thinking maybe a villa by the calming sea in Italy? Or on the West Coast of America somewhere? Maybe both? Health comes first people....

For more detailed information explaining just a little better than I this exciting new breakthrough check out:
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/norfolk-island-may-hold-key-to-unlock-migraines/story-e6frf00i-1226383935971
http://www.migraine.org.uk/index.php?sectionid=1672
http://migraine.com/blog/news/migraine-genes-x-marks-the-spot/
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