Thursday, February 6, 2014

What I'm Learning about Headaches and Vertigo: Part 1

If you've known me for long, you know that I've struggled with various health issues for years. I seem to be one big mess of all the random issues no one else seems to get. At least that's how I've always felt. Nearly five years ago, I began struggling with severe spells of dizziness, nausea, fatigue, bad headaches, and more. My second child was a newborn when they started creeping up on me and when he was about eight or nine months old, they hit me full swing. My life was totally altered as I fought day by day against these struggles. Remember when you were a small kid and you would spin around in circles just to lose your balance? Then you'd fall over laughing and giggling as your world spun around you? Imagine that as a mom of two, day in and day out with little to no relief. I was trying to live life, care for my growing family and figuring out why I felt so terrible every day. I went to about a dozen doctors and specialists, had MRIs, CAT scans, specialized ear exams, bloodwork, neurological assessments and more. Most every visit ended with a guess (MS, anxiety, brain cancer, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, and the list went on and on). The few that didn't make a guess simply said they did not know what was wrong (at least they were honest!).

In January of 2010, I was finally diagnosed with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). Though I received a diagnosis, they could not explain what caused it in the first place. I began treatment with positional techniques in office and at home. Sometimes, they seemed to work, other times they didn't. I've continued to battle with the onset of this vertigo off and on over the years. It's been worse during certain times of pregnancy or shortly after childbirth. Keep in mind I've had seven pregnancies (with two losses) in seven years, so I'm often either pregnant or nursing.

Fast forward to October 2013. A friend made a passing comment and asked me if I'd ever noticed a connection between my vertigo and migraines/hormones. I told her “not really” and didn't think much more about it at that moment. However, when I got home that evening, I started thinking about it in relation to my pregnancies and that made me start to wonder. I began doing more research on the topic and was floored with some of the new information I was reading. I struggled with classic migraines back in college but now I only get one or two per year. Yet, I've struggled with headaches and neck pain since puberty and just accepted them as a fact of my life. I've spent years in both chiropractic and physical therapy and sadly, neither provided me lasting comfort.

Fast forward another week or two. I was strolling around the recipe book section of our local Half-Price Bookstore. I glanced up at a book titled “Heal Your Headache.” I thought, “that sounds interesting” and picked it up a tad curious. I opened the book and did a careless flip through the pages. My fingers stopped (by God's amazing grace) on a page that said, “Is it BPPV or is it migraine?” I almost had to pick my jaw up off of the floor. I immediately purchased the book and devoured it in two and a half days. What I read, would change my life...
Until then...

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