2014-03-28 / Community Events

Alternative remedies for headache

By Wesley Elliott
DDEAMC Public Affairs

While serving in Afghanistan in 2006, Command Sgt. Maj. Eli Flores sustained three concussions with a brief loss of consciousness within a short period of time. Soon he began having short-term memory loss, headaches, concentration problems, insomnia, nightmares, ringing in the ears, irritability and anxiety but was reluctant to seek medical attention because he felt, especially at his rank, the expectation to “be strong” and to “suck it up and keep going.”

He was sent to the Fort Gordon Warrior Transition Battalion in 2012 to recuperate from recent knee surgery and was referred to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic.

While at the clinic for treatment he underwent an acupuncture treatment that was suggested for his headaches and his improvement was dramatic.

“It was like a wave washing all the dirt out of my head,” said Flores, describing how his headache was immediately relieved and he felt calm, comfortable and relaxed.

In 2008, the Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Center at DDEAMC established the first accredited traumatic brain injury treatment center and it quickly became apparent that medications alone were not always effective to treat the complex medical, psychological, social, cultural and spiritual issues these service members faced.

Dr. Jack Rigg and Dr. Marc Husid, from the DDEAMC TBI Clinic, attended the professional training program put on by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D. C., and immediately began using them in their work with service members.

More than 262,000 U.S. service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury since 2000 and headache is one of the most common symptoms after a mild TBI or concussion and may persist for months to years after injury.

While on Fort Gordon, Flores also received additional treatments over the next few weeks and reported his headaches were almost completely gone, he was sleeping five hours in a row without waking, he was less irritable and more relaxed and his concentration was improving.

“I felt like a new person,” said Flores.

According to Husid, the mind-body medicine techniques enhance each person’s capacity for selfcare and self-awareness using meditation, guided imagery, mindful eating, biofeedback, and the use of drawings, journals and movement to express thoughts and feelings.

“The approach focuses on the powerful ways in which emotional, mental, social and spiritual factors directly affect health,” said Husid.

Editor’s note: patient’s name was changed for privacy reasons.

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