A sixteen-year-old boy, accompanied by his mother, came to see me recently. The boy was suffering from a severe migraine that had been there without ceasing for thirteen weeks.
He had seen several GP’s and medical specialists and been given a full range of medical image scans, including an MRI. However, the doctors could find nothing wrong with him.
As with all new patients, I had the boy complete a confidential patient details form. I asked a series of pertinent questions, and had the young man stand and then walk while I made some physical and postural observations.
I next asked the boy to take off his shoes. The looks on the faces of mother and son were a picture as if to say, “Doesn’t this fool know that migraines are in the head and not the feet!” I registered what they were thinking and asked, “In the thirteen weeks of continuous migraine, has anyone looked at anything but the head?” “No,” they replied. I said, “Let me be the first but, before I start, on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain you have experienced in the last thirteen weeks, where are you now?” “About 9½,” was the reply.
I started working up from the feet. Before I had even reached the head (I was up to the collar bones) I asked, “What is the pain level now?” “Barely 2,” was the reply.
The migraines were caused by very tight hip flexor muscles in the abdomen which, in turn, were causing the collar bones to be pulled downwards. There is a muscle (the sternocleidomastoid) that is attached to the collar bone and also to the mastoid process, which is the bony area just behind the ear.
The effect of the collar bones being pulled downwards resulted in the mastoid processes being pulled down hard, equivalent to having buckets of lead hanging down from behind the ears! It was no wonder that the poor boy had been suffering his migraines.
The first treatment session was completed with some gentle hands-on and SCENAR treatment techniques applied to the boy’s collar bones, neck and shoulders. At this stage the migraine pain level was barely discernible.
The patient was given a couple of simple daily exercises to carry out between treatment sessions and after five follow-up treatments he has been completely free of further migraines.
This case study is a classic example of the need to find the root cause of a patient’s problem and not assume that the problem is caused by the area where pain is experienced.