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In association with the National Post, we are pleased to present the second of several Patient Diaries where our customers have shared their stories in an interview with the National Post.



For many years, waking up was the worst part of the day for Margaret Campbell, 45. “I’ve had headaches for most of my life and thought it was just a part of living,” she says. “Sometimes they would be a dull ache. At other times, they were like an ice pick behind my eye, leaving me unable to function.”

Headaches come in a variety of forms including tension, migraine, and clusters.

Tension headaches are typically stress-induced. Stress causes muscles in the neck, forehead and jaw to contract and pinch nerves. This leads to a dull aching pain in the head.

Migraines are much more intense and can be triggered by changes in the weather, the onset of menstruation, or certain foods like chocolate, red wine or MSG. They may be felt on only one side of the head, have related aura and can result in nausea, vomiting or light and sound sensitivity.

Cluster headaches are less common but can last a few days, weeks or months, with long periods between bouts. The cause of cluster headaches is unknown.

Ten years ago, when Campbell’s headaches came daily and couldn’t be relieved with off-the-shelf remedies, she feared the worst. A two-week headache diary failed to identify any triggers, so she was referred to a neurologist to rule out pathological causes such as a tumour, infection or nerve damage. She was eventually prescribed beta blockers, which helped relieve the pain in the short term.

With her new-found freedom from pain, Campbell was able to improve her lifestyle over the next few years. She eventually stopped taking the beta blockers because of unwanted side-effects but the headaches returned.

“I had to live with them again,” she says. “But when I decided on a career change last year and started law school, the constant headaches made it difficult to concentrate.” Her doctor put her back on the beta blockers.

She also began using the Dr-Ho’s Pain Therapy System by DrHoNow.com, a Dr. Ho’s Wellness Products company, to help with neck strain and tension from poor posture when studying. After using it twice a day for three days, the tension in her neck and shoulders had disappeared. “I was quite impressed,” she says.

It wasn’t long before Campbell again began suffering side-effects from the beta-blockers so, in consultation with her pharmacist, the dose was reduced by half.

“I was concerned that the headaches would return, but as Dr. Ho had suggested, continuing to use the Pain Therapy System has helped to keep the headaches away,” she says. “In consultation with my doctor, I hope to eventually get off the medication entirely and simply use the Pain Therapy System to relieve the tension in my neck and shoulders to alleviate the headaches.”

“I’ve seen thousands of headache patients at my clinic over the years,” says Michael Ho, doctor of chiropractic and acupuncture and founder of DrHoNow.com in Markham, Ont. “For 95% of sufferers, their pain is associated with impingement of the nerves in the upper neck. Medication is not the only answer and it can have unpleasant side-effects. Treating the cause versus the symptoms can often make the difference between masking headache pain temporarily and eliminating it permanently.”


To learn about the causes and treatment of headaches, visit Dr-HO'S Headaches page.

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