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Dear Pain Matters blog readers,
An Ethiopian-American woman (32) suffered severe migraines every 7-10 days for 10 years. She rated her painful migraine attacks as being ’10 out of 10′ (based on a pain scale). During her regular migraine attacks, she had sharp pain, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, altered vision including auras, a ‘heavy’ feeling, dizziness, weekly nausea and vomiting, irritability and a longing to lie very still in a dark and quiet room. The migraines were frequently on her right side of her head.
Imaging was done 2 years earlier to rule out any abnormalities, and the patient had no previous major illness (nor any family history thereof) or surgeries. She did not take any medications or nutritional supplements.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Treatment:
A Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis (including analysis of tongue, sublingual vein and Chinese pulse) in October 2011 revealed cold hands and cold feet with a warmer middle body. She sweated easily, and suffered allergies, sinus congestion as well as weekly nausea, vomiting and painful migraines.
The patient’s diet was high in fat and sodium/salt, and included food cravings such as chocolate, ice cream and fatty fried foods.
She was constipated 1-2 times a week that included occasional blood in the toilet caused by excess strain in her attempt to clear bowels.
She had stress, anxiety and an irregular menstrual cycle (perhaps linked to her migraines and constipation).
The patient was offered TCM treatment for 6-8 weeks involving:
- Acupuncture (20 minutes per session, done weekly for 6 weeks). The needles were inserted and manipulated until the patient felt a ‘dull pulling’ sensation (‘de qi’) at the needle insertion site;
- Diet changes. Diet changes included sodium/salt intake not exceeding 3 grams a day and replacing all fatty fried food with organic fruits and vegetables plus fresh fish and chicken; and
- Chinese herbal- and coffee-based enemas (heated to 98.9 ℃, for her chronic constipation). One enema treatment was done during the first week, 2 enemas during the 2nd week and 3 enemas during the 3rd week. The enemas help to (1) clear the colon of toxic feces and bacteria and (2) dilate the gall bladder and liver ducts (via caffeine) to promote a generous release of bile. Removal of toxins via enemas (i.e. to reverse constipation) may promote self-healing mechanisms, hence reduce the incidence of, or eliminate, severe migraines.
After the 1st week of TCM treatment, the patient’s severe migraine was reduced from a migraine to a headache (pain rating = ‘5 out of 10’). She felt ‘better and less bloated’ after the 1st enema.
After her 2nd week, the patient’s sinus congestion improved, and her headache was milder and shorter in duration.
After her 3rd enema during her 3rd week, the patient had a full bowel movement and felt much better. Just prior to this bowel movement, the patient had a right temple-area headache.
By her 4th week, she felt improvement in general. She mistakenly ‘celebrated’ this milestone by indulging in fatty fried food (that she had avoided for 3 weeks). She immediately suffered a migraine on her right side of her head, followed by vomit of green bile and acid reflux.
During her 5th week, she (once again) avoided fatty fried food and returned to 3 enemas per week. Her headache was rated as ‘3 out of 10’, and her sinus congestion improved.
Following 6 weeks of acupuncture, the patient continued with her improved diet and enemas in her own home.
She returned for a follow-up visit 8 months later, and stated that her new and improved diet plus her ongoing enemas had changed her life for the better. She can now go on holidays without worrying about migraines. A food and migraine journal helped her monitor any food products that triggered any new migraines, hence enabling her to avoid these food items in the future.
For the first time in 10 years, and following strict compliance with TCM treatment, the patient finally experienced lasting relief from her severe and painful migraines.
Fatty fried food and chronic constipation had (likely) triggered the woman’s severe and chronic migraines in the first place.
Acupuncture for 6 weeks offered many benefits including restoring energy flow in her body.
Making a life-long commitment to:
- Avoid fatty fried food, improve overall diet and lifestyle;
- Manage constipation (via regular enemas); and
- Seek acupuncture for any acute headaches
enabled this woman to finally obtain relief from her severe and painful migraines that had plagued her for 10 years.
“Sedare dolorem divinum opus est”
“It is divine to alleviate pain”
Galen, 130-200 C.E.
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