Getting to the Root of Migraine - Patient Story

Finally! Relief from longterm migraines and more...

The following personal story is from a patient of Helen Chuntso, Hebden Bridge Chinese Medicine Clinic - August 2021

"My name is Mahi, and I am 38-year-old woman of South Asian origin. I have been suffering from migraine since I was a child and having 2 or 3 attacks per week was the normal pattern. Often the pain lasted for several days, with the bloating and sickness that comes with it. Things like sunlight, fragrances, travel, barometric pressure and certain types of food and drinks would trigger my migraines. I would have a continuous and severe migraine starting from 2 or 3 days before my periods until after 2 days of finishing it. I would have pain killers during most days of the month and would not take pain killers for any pain other than migraine thinking it would reduce their intake. I would take pain killer as a precaution if I was travelling or expecting to come across any trigger, or if there is even a mild sign of headache. The pain level I was in was often 8/10.

Migraine Patient Tongue

I went to the Chinese medicine clinic for the first time on 7 June. It was for the first time that I come across a physician who would go into every little detail not only about my migraine and its history, but all other physical and psychological complications that I suffer from. My ongoing and past treatments for mental health conditions, indigestion, calcium and iron deficiency, sleep deprivation and nightmares, irregular menstrual cycle were only some of the topics that were discussed during the consultation. It made sense to know that all the ailments and imbalances in my body were connected to each other, and it is futile to treat one without considering the others. I have been taking the herbal medicine as prescribed, and so far, had 5 sessions of acupuncture.

The sessions are informative and relaxing. The herbal medicine is easy to take, and I never forgot to take them as I normally do with some prescriptions with large pills to swallow. In fact, I think I have developed a liking to the bitter taste of the medicine. There was a gap of 4 weeks since my 4th and 5th visit. It was only after going for the session that I realised I had only one severe migraine attack during that whole month, and that too triggered by drinking too much alcohol than I am used to.

When I look back for the last 2 months, I have had a smaller number of migraine episodes, and an even lesser number of severe ones. The pain I have had was a maximum of 3/10, and it hasn’t lasted longer than an hour. I didn’t have a single attack that made me throw up until bile come out and throat bleed during this period. Furthermore, my energy levels are much better, and I do more physical activities than I used to do. I feel like my menstrual cycle is also becoming more regular, and more predictable. I didn’t have migraine closer to and during my period for the last 2 months. The cramps are less severe after first 2 days of periods, whereas I used to have severe menstrual cramps throughout 5 to 6 days of the cycle. I have observed less clotting, and the colour of my menstrual blood is also getting lighter towards the mid cycle. I have a good appetite, and I think I have become better at my work too. I used to have days and days of diarrhoea before, and now I feel like my indigestion is also getting better. I still have nightmares and stress related issues, which I believe cannot be healed merely by herbal treatment. But I am looking forward for my future sessions and hopeful that the continued treatment will allow me to function better in my professional and personal spaces."

Helen Chuntso

Helen Chuntso is an RCHM Member and Chinese Herbal Medical Practitioner based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. She has 16 years of experience in practicing Chinese Medicine, and has specialised in the treatment of Female and Male Fertility and Gynaecology.
She has worked recently as part of a research project using Chinese Herbal Medicine in the treatment of Long Covid patients. As a Chemistry Graduate, she continues to examine the biomolecular basis of all diseases, and the role Chinese Medicine has in managing chronic diseases, and the potential for their delivery in Integrated Care Systems.