My head is going to explode!

BY Ben Hutton

I first met Trish* on a bright sunny Thursday afternoon. She crept inside with Jackie O’s sunglasses on. She had the pale, drawn expression of someone in extreme pain. I made a bad joke about wearing rock star sunglasses inside and a career as a catwalk model- she didn’t find it funny. Dodgy physio humour didn’t seem to be helpful medicine.

‘Please help. My head feels like it’s going to explode. My stomach is churning and I can’t handle bright light or noise. The GP said it might be my neck?’

Trish looked at me with desperation.

She told me how she hadn’t done anything to cause it but last week she had a shocker at work, stressed and overworked (and obviously underpaid). And she’d been doing some new harder exercises at the gym. Her neck had been ‘feeling stiff’ for a few months now that she thought about it. The doctor had ruled out any nasty reasons for her headache and so off to the physio she went in search of any relief from the violent pressure behind her eyes.

It’s no miracle. Just mechanics. 

Trish had cervicogenic headache. Once I’d quickly explained what it was and how she’d come to inherit the Devil’s Exploding And Terrible Head Syndrome (DEATHS) we could get to work. I knew if I could loosen her neck muscles and gently glide her joints so they moved better she had hope. Thirty eight and half minutes later she sat up carefully from the treatment bed and said ‘Oh my giddy aunt. I feel like I can hold my head up’. Her headache was “so much better”. I prescribed a hot bath and the magical properties of a nap (and just quietly- a glass of medicinal red wine). She went on to fully recover within 5 weeks.

It’s no miracle. Just mechanics.

I’ve got the best job in the world.

To begin a story like Trish’s and become hopeful of getting out of pain (especially deaths) book now.