Headache Program Empowers Patient
Donna Brown of South Whitehall Township has had debilitating headaches for more than 20 years, sometimes four or five times a week. The migraine-like headaches have interfered with her life, making it difficult, at times, to take care of her home and her two children, one of who has special needs. But now, thanks to treatment she has received through the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network Headache Program, Donna feels like she has a new lease on life.
In the past, Donna had tried a variety of medications and other treatments, including diet modification and chiropractic care, but nothing gave her any long-term relief. When she ended up in the emergency room two days after Thanksgiving in excruciating pain and left after numerous tests with a clean bill of health, she knew she needed to find help.
A Parkland school bus driver, she had been eyeing Good Shepherd’s headache billboards as she drove her daily route. Her primary care physician gave her a referral to Good Shepherd, and after a comprehensive exam by Ali Shah, M.S., M.D., a Good Shepherd physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, she began therapy at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation – CedarPointe with Alicia Shoup, PT, DPT, OCS, STC.
Alicia evaluated Donna to identify the factors contributing to her headaches, quickly determining that at 4 feet, 9 inches, Donna was frequently looking up and extending her neck, which was leading to her pain. Alicia taught Donna neck retraction exercises and modifications to her neck and body alignment in her activities of daily living, from sleeping to reading to driving a bus. Donna even had her glasses adjusted at Alicia’s suggestion.
In the first few weeks after starting the program, Donna’s headaches diminished to about one a week, and soon, they stopped completely. “When I feel a headache coming on, I know how to prevent it by following the techniques that Alicia taught me,” says Donna. “The key to this program is self-management.”
“Alicia helped me figure out something that no one else could. This program changed my life. I am in control now. I have more energy, and I’m not afraid to do anything,” says Donna.