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Chronic Migraine Sufferer Turns to Deep Tissue Massage for Mental, Physical Relief

The pounding pain and brutality of migraine headaches have been a constant in Peggy Faber’s life since she was 10 years old. Each week, Peggy would experience at least one to two debilitating migraines that ultimately would send her home from work and unable to live a consistently happy and pain-free lifestyle.

Today, with only two years left until retirement, Peggy has drastically reduced her occurrence of migraine headaches to an average of once a month. There are even months when she doesn’t get a migraine at all.

Most everything in her life has remained the same. She’s married with a family and continues to work at a computer every day, which puts strain and pressure on her shoulders and neck area. The change that has made a difference in her migraines, though, is regular deep tissue massage therapy sessions with Kymberly Northey, massage therapist at Elements Glendale, for the past four years.

“Consistent massage, along with acupuncture, has allowed me to help my situation so that I don’t have to rely on migraine drugs so much,” explains Peggy. “It’s helped me reduce the migraines I have and better manage my daily stress from work and life.”

When Peggy started receiving massages at Elements, she needed two or three deep tissue therapy sessions each month in order to manage her migraine pain. But today, she is typically down to one massage a month as long as she doesn’t experience major migraines before in between sessions.

Even though Peggy has received massages throughout the years from spa-type facilities, it wasn’t until she came to Elements and started working with Kymberly that she realized the healing effects that deep tissue massage can have not only for her migraine condition, but for her overall mental and physical well-being.

“I’ve been getting massages off and on since my late 20s, but I would primarily go to a spa where they would do more of a "fluff-and-buff" type of massage,” explains Peggy. “I didn’t really go because I thought it would help my migraines. I actually didn’t even know what a deep tissue massage was until I went to Elements.

“Now, I don’t know what I would do without my massages at Elements and without Kym. She knows where all my trigger points are and she works them fabulously. It has helped me tremendously.”

Kymberly believes that all of her clients deserve a full body massage that is customized to their specific conditions. For Peggy, Kymberly focuses on loosening tight muscles and increasing circulation throughout her body. She also does a lot of deep pressure focus work on Peggy’s neck, back, shoulders and traps to help with the tension that builds up from working at a computer all day.

Kymberly finishes with muscle and stretching work in the hips and pelvis, as she believes this is the keystone area of the body where all of the muscles in your neck, back, shoulders and legs connect.

“I make sure that when Peggy comes in for a massage we focus on what Peggy needs that day,” explains Kymberly. “I problem-solve during our sessions to see how her body reacts to different techniques and strokes. There are times that we focus a lot on her upper body and I can go deeper. There are other times when I can go lighter and she can get more relaxation from the session, but it’s still effective for her migraine pain. Either way, it’s great to see the difference in how Peggy feels after a massage.”

In addition to the physical pain relief Peggy experiences through massage, she also enjoys the relaxation and stress relief associated with her therapy sessions. Due to her history of chronic migraine pain, it’s hard for Peggy to completely let go during her daily life. But, after a massage Peggy says she feels like a wet noodle as her tight muscles and mind unwind. Peggy’s husband even comments that she looks like she feels better after receiving a massage.

“When people don’t feel good, you can feel the vibe that they’re miserable from the pain,” explains Kymberly. “Now that Peggy is finally feeling better, she’s projecting a lot more positively to people. It’s so nice to see such a positive change in Peggy both physically and emotionally.”

Looking forward toward retirement, Peggy expects to have less mental stress and physical tension in her migraine trigger points in the shoulder and neck area. But she plans to continue massage with Kymberly long after retirement so she can maintain the holistic benefits of health and well-being from massage as she ages.

“Most people don’t understand that massage does so much more for you then relax your muscles,” shares Peggy. “I’m a holistic person who believes that if I keep my body up the way it should be, if I keep my muscles limber like they should be and keep the blood flowing, then I’m going to feel better longer, even as I age.”

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