Crap. I’m awake. With no idea of the time. It could be 3am or 6am. I desperately need migraine pain relief. I’ve hung heavy curtains at the windows, to block even the smallest glimmer of light getting through. Can I even bear to squint at the clock? With a groan, I turn and look. 3am. Again. Welcome to my sleepless nights. I used to love falling asleep at the end of the day. Not anymore. What’s changed? This.
Six months previous I started a new job. The company is great. My colleagues are great. The work is great. At least it would have been, once upon a time. But that time has gone. Gamely, I plough on. Asleep though I cannot close my ears to the truth my subconscious is screaming at me: “Get us out of here!!”
I’m beyond my point of endurance. The point where central command in my brain takes charge. It throws the big red ‘systems shutdown’ switch. We all have one. Ignore it at your own peril. I have a choice. Continue living a grey, half-life. Or do something about it. I choose the latter. I resign and a weight lifts.
Resigning with no job to go to is no easy thing. For me, it’s a little easier as I’m child-free. If I go without, I go without. And I have some savings. Enough for a small safety net to break a catastrophic crash landing. I am an environmental scientist. 40 years old. It’s 2007.
What now? Normally, I’m the one who gets things done, who comes up with solutions. But I’m stumped. Devoid of inspiration. I want a different kind of life than then one I see around me. Just what kind, I haven’t a clue. I need to go out and find it. How? I decide to become a WWOOFER. A Willing Working On Organic Farms.
Now, I’ve no desire to set up my own small holding. But what I do desire is to be around people who are living their lives in different ways. I pick Spain. Why? My sister lives there. And I hope it’ll improve my shonky Spanish. And that was the start of what will be a life-changing experience. In three ways.
The first is this: I am no longer an environmental scientist.
I’m a self-employed myofascial therapist. With my own step-by-step treatment programme for people who’ve had enough of putting up with lousy migraines and nagging headaches and want migraine pain relief. How did this happen? Well, not in one easy leap, that’s for sure. In all my life I’d only ever have one massage, when volunteering in Costa Rica. So, how the heck was I drawn into a hands-on therapy as my new career choice? I’ve no tidy, neat answer for you.
But at the heart of it is this - in my previous career I met a lot of deeply unhappy people. People who were hard on others and even harder on themselves. What if, I thought, I could help people be kinder to themselves? Then maybe, just maybe, they can share their kindness with the world. So, I retrained to be a massage therapist. People came to see me because they were stressed and frazzled. But then they began to ask, “My shoulder hurts like crazy, can you help?” Or “I can’t run because of sciatica, can you help?” My answer was No. Well, that just didn’t do it for me. This is where the second life changing thing happened. And it’s to do with lousy migraines.
I’ve suffered with migraines since as I was 11 years old. At 16, I was put on beta-blockers. I became a zombie. I stopped taking them. I was a person who got migraines and I’d just have to put up with it. Put up with the pain and the puking. Put up with missing out. Put up with pretending to be OK. The change came when I learnt Trigger Point Therapy with the Jing Institute of Advanced Massage and realised that I could help facilitate migraine pain relief.
And thank heavens I did. Because I discovered that my own migraines are caused by trigger points in my muscles. Why the hell had no-one (especially you - beta-blocker happy consultant) ever told me about this? If no-one ever tells you about referred trigger point pain, you’re left believing all you can do, at best, is cope or keep searching for migraine pain relief. That simply is not true. Let me share with a brief snapshot of what you need to know about trigger points.
Trigger points are super-knots in your muscles. They can be big or small. They have two sneaky characteristics. The first is they produce referred pain in a predictable pattern. Referred pain means that where you feel pain – that throbbing one-sided migraine for instance – is a different place to the root source. One of the most common migraine trigger points of my clients lurk in a neck muscle with the glorious name of Sternocleidomastoid.
The second sneaky thing is they can be active and so you end up suffering a bunch of grim symptoms. Or they can be latent and you get no symptoms and think all is rosy and you stop looking for migraine pain relief. Until that trigger point gets squeezed, that is. Then once again they switch on into active mode. That’s the key point. Because it’s how you live your daily life that sets up trigger points in your muscles.
Unravelling that puzzle with my clients and teaching them how to make do-able, small changes is what I love to do. Because confidence comes with knowledge. And once my clients have knowledge, their confidence returns.
They let go of their worry about what will happen as they grow older. And instead they’re free to get on enjoying what they love; whether that’s heading up into the hills or enjoying their daily run. And fundamentally, that means they feel truly like themselves once again.
One client gave the following testimonial
“I had in fact almost resigned myself to a lifetime of just coping with a relentless cycle of unexplainable headaches. I say resigned but actually I was just regressing into an ever more decreasing shadow of my former life. If that sounds dark, well, that’s how it was.
However, there has been so much improvement in my physical and mental wellbeing I sometimes can’t quite believe it – Jan has literally given me my life back. Although there are still some activities I may have to avoid in the future, I can do so much more now and the headaches, when they come, if they come, are of a much shorter duration and much less intense. If you’ve ever had to endure a migraine that lasted 9 days, a headache that lasts less than 24 hours is a phenomenal improvement and I cannot praise Jan highly enough”. SM, Edinburgh
That leaves my third life changing experience. Whilst WWOOFING, I met the man who is now my husband. And that is how I come to be living, very happily, in Edinburgh. Doing what I love.
For more information on migraine pain relief contact Jan at www.jansouthern.co.uk
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