Physical Therapy - A Migraine Patient's 30 Days of Gratitude

  • Migraine isn't thought of as a disabling disease, but the surprising truth is, Migraine is ranked as the seventh most disabling condition in the world.


    Migraine isn't thought of as the kind of disease that can lead to anything requiring physical therapy either. The truth is, not only can exercise be a great Migraine preventive, but the right kind of exercise can also be helpful for us as we try to make our Migraines better.


    When we are disabled by Migraine, we spend a lot of time not doing things. Our lives can become sedentary either because we're Migraining, or afraid of triggering the next attack. When Migraining, our beds are our friends, not the gym or a treadmill.

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    It's very common that patients don't stop to consider what all the rest we need for our disease, is doing to our bodies. When most of us notice, it's too late. The damage has been done.


    Since exercise itself can be a big trigger for many patients, it can be extremely overwhelming when we realize we need exercise or we're not only going to be disabled, but also incapacitated. How can we exercise and still manage our Migraines? We think we're in a catch-22 situation we cannot win.


    It's easy to give up with frustration. It's easy to feel misunderstood by a doctor who tells us we need physical therapy to help us.


    This is unnecessary.


    Because I used to be an athlete and a personal trainer in the days before my illnesses, I realized how my body was physically suffering as a result of my newly sedentary life. I knew I needed to move, but the question was - How?


    Eventually my autoimmune disease and age combined with my newly sedentary lifestyle to cause enough problems that I realized I was in trouble. Big trouble. I desperately wanted to get better, so I asked my doctor if I could start physical therapy. Not just any PT though  - I wanted aquatic therapy.


    I'll post more on this later, but water therapy utilizes gentle movements and exercises in a very warm swimming pool. These can be done in classes, or as I'm doing them - one on one with my therapist. I wear a special wetsuit due to my other health issues, but others receiving this therapy usually wear shorts or sweatpants, and a T-shirt. A bathing suit is not necessary, and neither is embarrassement.


    Progress has been slow due to chronic illness and frequent setbacks. It's three steps forward, two steps backward. I work hard, even though the exercises themselves are gentle and not strenuous. The relief on painful joints when I climb into the 98 degree water is immediate and profound.


    On day #9 I am so very grateful for the wonderful therapists I work with. Without their help, it is very likely I would be in surgery or a wheelchair today. Because of their gentle, yet enthusiastic help, I am making progress in a forward direction. I am getting better. Their help allows me to continue fighting what Migraine and my other health conditions are doing to me. PT is giving me back my dignity, and my health, little by little.


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    Would you like to join us in remembering and recording the things we're thankful for this month? It's easy to keep a gratitude journal, and you're always welcome to share any of it here in our community. Journals can be handwritten or kept on your computer. To share here, you can create a SharePost of your own, or you can post comments to our posts.


    For a listing of all of our 30 Days of Gratitude posts, see A Migraine Patient's 30 Days of Gratitude - Introduction.


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    © Ellen Schnakenberg, 2013.
    Last updated November 10, 2013.

Published On: November 10, 2013