Thursday, October 30, 2008

returning to the complementary medicine fold

I posted earlier this month about the options that Dr E gave me regarding my treatment, mainly to try another Migraine preventive, or to go see an herbalist. I decided to take the referral to the herbalist, Dr P. I did not feel mentally ready to trial another preventive med, and I wanted to make sure I was getting the most out of my supplements before I add on prescription meds.

My appointment with Dr P went very well. She spent about an hour with me and gave me a lot of information and ideas.

She thinks that a lot of what's complicating things (and contributing to the strange med reactions) is emotional overload. She did not mean that Migraines are purely an emotional problem; more, she recognized the complex relationship between Migraines, Depression and Anxiety. She thinks a big issue for me is that I don't just allow myself to feel without analyzing - the curse of being a therapist's daughter. I'm very good at figuring out why I'm feeling the way I'm feeling, but not so good at just letting myself feel it. Instead I think about why I'm sad and figure out the reasons for it, but don't let myself just feel sad without the "why". I don't like showing emotions in public, especially at work, so I tend to keep that lid on all the time.

Her main recommendations are that I do some "bodywork" to help put myself more back in touch with my body. She also thinks I need some space to just express emotion without analyzing it. Specifically, she wants me to retry acupuncture, and add massage therapy and dance therapy. I tried acupuncture last year, and while I had some success with it, I felt dissatisfied. She mentioned that the success of acupuncture depends not only on the techniques, but also how the patient "clicks" with the practitioner. This makes a lot of sense, as it holds true for any doctor-patient relationship. Complementary medicine practitioners are no exception.

Dr P had specific referrals for both the acupuncture and dance therapy, and I have a place very close to my office that does medical massage therapy and takes my insurance. While the dance therapy idea seemed a bit strange to me at first, after thinking it over I'm willing to give it a try. When I was younger, I took dance classes (age 4-16) and it was a big part of my life. Dance was my main form of stress relief, and it was very effective. So getting back into dance makes sense, and why not try a more freeform kind. Dr P recommended I try Nia dance, so I'm working on finding a class nearby that works with my schedule. I love the whole philosophy of Nia, and it draws from several movement forms I've practiced in the past, including modern dance, yoga and tai chi, among others.

On top of that, she also changed up my supplements. She had a specific brand she wanted me to change to for my multi, C and B2, and replaced my chelated magnesium with calcium-magnesium. She also added CoQ10 and Petadolex, as well as a live culture form of acidophilus (Primadophilus Optima) for my IBS. She wrote down specific brands and dosages for all of them.

This sounds like a lot of changes at once, and it is, but she thinks I may be better served by doing this at once rather than one thing at a time. She explained that with the holistic therapies, often one thing won't work, or even a combination of five things won't work, but adding a sixth or seventh thing is what allows everything to work together. So by changing my supplements, and adding acupuncture, massage therapy and dance therapy, we're hoping to see some improvement. She (like me) doesn't expect a miracle cure, but hopes this will at least start improving things for me.

It was a lot to think about and absorb. I like Dr P a lot. She seems to have a good balance between western and eastern medicine, recognizing the benefits and flaws of both. I feel good about her recommendations, and like the idea of trying a more holistic approach before I go back to medications. I don't expect this treatment plan to be a magic fix, but I am optimistic that it will help. I see Dr P for a follow-up appointment in 2 months, right at the beginning of January.

I have started both the acupuncture and massage therapy and hope to try a Nia class on Saturday; I will post about all of these in the near future. I've only been following my new treatment plan for a few days, but I can already tell a slight difference in my energy level. I feel more optimistic about this than I have about anything health-related in a long time.

Be well,


Leslie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leslie said...

It's good to hear that things are going better for you and I'm glad that you've found a combination of things to help you! Glad you're back in the blogging world!

Glenn Stewart Coles said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
rain gem said...

MJ, that is most excellent. There's so many things out there that it always pays off to keep trying.

And the best thing is - most of them don't need a prescription :P

Mary Kay said...

All of your options sound great..if you do them all at the same time (time permitting) the combination might really reduce the migraines. I got back into tennis which was also a teenage passion and the exercise really reduces my stress and headaches.

Acupucture: I have found that the best ones are the ones who twirl the needles every 5 min or so..just an FYI if you weren't aware.

Good luck!

Debbie said...

Hi MJ,
Looks like Glenn has been here. I congratulate you on trying alternatives to medication. My neuro has already been talking about CoQ10, magnesium, and butterbur. Do you have the time to do all that is on your list? More power to you if you do! Stay well, Debbie

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.