Physical Therapy for NDPH: A Success Story

Physical therapy can help alleviate head pain.

I recently received a personal story from a reader about her struggle with New Daily Persistent Headache and the treatment she used to lead to a recovery.

I’m sharing it here with the hope that it will help someone reduce, or even eliminate their pain.

From Carla in San Antonio:

” I was diagnosed with NDPH back in January 2010.  My headaches started late November of 2009 and after visiting several neurologist; I was finally given the correct diagnosis.  The reason I am reaching out to you and everyone else is because I want to let everyone know that there is hope out there.  I lost an entire year of enjoying my 3 yr old because I was in bed with so much pain.  I was extremely sensitive to noise and well, 3 year olds make plenty of wonderful noise.  Maybe it’s premature but I’ve been NDPH free for 2 months.  That in itself is a miracle.  I wanted to let everyone know what helped mine go away and maybe give some hope out there to those who are still suffering.

The doctor that diagnosed me was Dr. Randolph Evans from Houston.  Then my follow up doctor was Dr. Yanko Yankov from San Antonio.  I’ve been through every test (MRI, MRA, MRV) and have taken so many medications including the worst one, Topamax.  Dr. Yankov shares a facility with a physical therapy team.  I asked him if we could try physical therapy as part of my treatment and he definitely thought we should give it a try.  He is a wonderful doctor with an amazing bedside manner.  We basically treated what could be some triggers.  I had a lot of tension in my neck and back so I went to physical therapy.  I was given massages and treatment to ease the tension and I also saw a chiropractor for adjustments.  The physical therapy was the trick.  I started going 2-3 times a week and eventually went down to once a month.  I saw results within the first two weeks and I dwindled off my medication.  I also had a tendency of grinding my teeth so I went to an oral surgeon (Dr. John Young- San Antonio) that made a “proper” mouth-guard that I wear every night.  The headaches never fully went away until recently but I noticed incredible results and my headaches were more manageable and less frequent.  I hope this is helpful to anyone out there.  I understand how incredibly painful it is to have this condition and how it can test your faith.  Try to find the triggers and alleviate them one at a time and hope your pain improves and eventually goes away.”

If you have any questions for Carla or for me, please leave them in the comments section.

Wishing you a low pain day-



Physical Therapy for NDPH: A Success Story — 13 Comments

  1. Hi Amy,
    Have you had any recent improvements? My husband has been suffering since February 2010 and is at the end of his rope. I just found your page today and have reads lots of great information. Please keep sharing!

    • Hi Connie, I’m currently being treated for Lyme, and I still have headaches, but not daily anymore (which is a wonderful improvement). I have days here and there (like today) where I’ll have a bad headache and then days that are free of head pain completely. I truly believe that my NDPH has been Lyme all along and I’m hopeful that I will make a full recovery.
      I know how hopeless it can feel to go on and on in pain for so long. Keep searching for a solution. If there is any chance that your husband could have Lyme, (even if the blood tests don’t catch it) pursue that path. Keep trying things. That’s where I made a mistake – at several points over the years I would give up and just live with the pain and accept it. I felt like “what is the point of taking more meds when none of them work?” It’s terrible to feel so powerless – but you just have to keep looking for a solution.
      I hope your husband finds relief soon. He is lucky to have your support.

      • Amy, Did you have a rash and other symptoms that would suggest a tick bite?
        Or was it more the headache and NDPH symptoms. Thanks

        • I have been dealing with NDPH, chronic fatigue, etc., and have been diagnosed positive for Lyme antibodies 3 times but have been dismissed by doctors. I am also interested to hear whether you had a rash. Also, do you know of any over-the-counter treatments for Lyme? Thanks!

  2. Amy
    I currently have NDPH for 2 years and yes I am at the end of my rope. What type of physical therapy helped you?

  3. I’m on year 11 of NDPH and started PT two weeks ago. Its orthopedic manual physical therapy. I did the usuals, meds (I agree, topamax was the worst, closely followed by keppra), tests and scans galore, occipital nerve blocks (torture!). Fingers crossed, this might actually be working. My PT says I have hypermobility (research says that most of us with NDPH have this) and the muscles in my neck/upper back are compensating for this, which can contribute to the headache.She’s doing gentle massage to loosen everything up and I have exercises that I do daily (about 10 minutes a day, no biggie). I also have a TENS unit I’m wearing daily for 30 minutes. I’ve gone from pain between a 5-9 daily to a 0-3 daily in a couple weeks. I don’t know if anyone else has ebbs and flows with your pain, but over the years I’ve had a few days to a week or two at a time where the pain eases up, but then comes back. I’m really hopeful that this isn’t just an ebb and we’re on to something.Hoping you’re having a low pain day…

    • Anne, that is amazing! I hope the results are lasting for you. Thank you for sharing your treatment with us. I know many people are interested in exploring this route. My headaches do go up and down significantly and I have had times where the pain is low for a week / two at a time, but I think this must somehow be related. I hope it continues to work for you!

  4. I am about 8 months into life with NDPH. A concerned friend gave me a long print out of all the possible pharmaceuticals and therapies available to Migraine patients (she is indeed in the health care field) although I explained these were not Migraine per se. At the the top of the page she had written “not all headaches are created equal”. Shortly after that I reconnected with a dear friend who has battled with severe Migraines since childhood, only to find that we have both found relief in you guessed it Topomax! I am concerned about side effects, but they are not in the class of headaches I had to deal with; as for my friend, over 40 years of headache battles (he is a surgeon of all things) and he is finally experiencing substantial relief. Topomax may not be for everyone, not all headaches are created equal…

  5. I don’t know if this will help anyone but both my nephew and I had migraines…. mine were for 13 years and nephew had them for 7 years. His were daily and mine were several times a week. No one could figure out why. Finally we did Atlas Evolution…..this originated from Atlas Profilax. Probably either might work if this is your problem. In one session both of us stopped having migraines. Come to find out it was from our Atlas being out of position…… both from falls years before. I went to doctors and many chiropractors and none knew why we had migraines. The muscles under the back of the head are so tight they hold the atlas out of position creating the migraines and the vagus nerve causing the nausea. Anyway I would try this as it would probably benefit you no matter what and the cost is reasonable…..$250 and one session does it. If this didn’t work I would look into Brain State Technology and check it out this way with a brain map. Once again you can’t lose doing this treatment as it improves a host of other things as well as maybe your headaches. Good Luck. It is debilitating……our migraines never returned. It has been 5 years at least. Some ways you can tell if your atlas is out………weak middle back (slouch in chairs forward or backward), shoulders round inward, head sits on shoulders crooked or too far forward or feels like head is falling backwards, when you turn your head to the either side you are tight in the back of the neck on either side.

  6. Hi Amy

    I have been diagnosed with ndph. It’s nearly two yrs now. I’ve tried every medication going botox chiropractor. Nothing helps. Mine came on 6 months after an abdominal hysterectomy. Glad you are better. X

  7. My daughter started with a daily headache on March 12 of this year, 2017. Can you please share details about the physical therapy treatment?? I’d love to know how you were helped! Thank you so much!

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