My name is Paola, I am a middle-aged housewife with two children.
My origins are modest but I feel proud of myself. However, my pride was combined with weariness and resignation, given that I had suffered from headaches for more than ten years. The pain was almost constant, but several times a month it became excruciating and spread to my face, neck and shoulders. The pain was pulsing, pressing...everything!
Where I live I had consulted a number of specialists and was hospitalized twice. In the course of time more that ten different medications were prescribed in the hope of treating my problem. Several advanced examinations were performed, including EMG, CAT scans, magnetic resonance and so on, but nothing abnormal was found. Recently I was discharged from the hospital with a diagnosis of 'chronic headache' and a further prescription of medications.
I felt anxious almost constantly, especially after the sudden death of a close and beloved relative. I had palpitations, swallowing difficulties, sleep disorders, constant weariness and so on. In other words, I felt desperate!
The exercise and relaxation program that was prescribed to me in conjunction with an antidepressant was of great help, despite my initial scepticism. For the first time I learnt how to relax my muscles, in particular those of my head, face and neck and shoulders. I learnt that I was unconsciously keeping these muscles tight.
I would never have thought that this was so important and could effect my general health so negatively. Also the medicine prescribed was very useful in treating the depression. However, learning how to relax and control my muscles was of great help, not only physically but also psychologically.
Now my headaches are limited to two or three times a month and I can lessen their intensity by taking an appropriate pill. Otherwise, I feel well and my mood has improved significantly.