Amy is a 50-year-old woman who was dealing with a number of bothersome symptoms following brain surgery for a subarachnoid hemorrhage. This is a type of stroke that is caused by bleeding in the space between the brain and the membrane that surrounds it, which is called the subarachnoid space. The bleeding in these strokes is usually due to the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain (aneurysm), and it can lead to permanent brain damage and even death if left untreated.
After undergoing surgery, Amy reported feeling pain in her temporomandibular joint, which connects the skull to the lower jaw. She also started experiencing symptoms of vertigo, in which it felt as if the world was spinning around her, and tension headaches, which are usually described as a tight band of pressure around the head.
Amy eventually came in to see us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City in search of a solution for these issues. From there, Amy was referred to Katerina Tsernou, an integrative wellness practitioner and certified hypnotist. Katerina evaluated Amy’s condition and created a treatment program to address her symptoms, which included the following interventions:
- Facial exercises and massage techniques, which were intended to both strengthen and release a number of facial muscles, including the buccinator muscles, which control the cheeks, and the risorius muscles, which assist with the mouth movements needed for a smile
- Breathing exercises, which engage the vagus nerve and create a sense of relaxation and pain relief
- Progressive muscle relaxation techniques, which systematically relieve tension in various muscles, one group at a time, to alleviate stress and anxiety; in Amy’s case, it was found that she had tension particularly in her jaw, which was likely due to past trauma and stress
- Hypnosis and imagery training that focused on minimizing Amy’s pain, reducing her stress levels, and providing a sense of calm, clarity, and elevated mood
- Emotional freedom technique (EFT), a technique in which Amy tapped various points throughout her body (meridian points) with her fingers to release emotions, create change, and help her gain confidence to live a healthy, pain-free life
Amy had a positive response to her treatment program, as she experienced feeling less overall pain during the very first session. Katerina reported that she was in control of her sensory system and that she managed or minimized the duration and intensity of the pain and headaches. Amy accomplished this by using the power of her mind, coupled with hypnotic suggestions at this first visit. During the next session, Amy was able to uncover and address the emotional/psychosomatic reasons behind her vertigo. Through careful observation, Katerina also discovered that unresolved traumas were causing Amy’s body to experience giddiness as an escape mechanism when she was stressed. Through the hypnosis sessions, Amy released these old traumas, which in turn reduced her overall stress levels. She is now pain-free, vertigo-free, and healthier than before, both physically and emotionally.
Here at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City, we’re excited to see that Amy was able to improve so rapidly from such a variety of interventions. Her story also shows that because every patient is different, the treatments that will lead to the best possible outcome will also vary from one case to another. So if you’re dealing with any painful issues of your own, we invite you to find out how we can help you impove next. Contact us at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click here to read our last blog for additional information on headaches and other issues related to the neck.