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HeadWay, Issue #026 -- This old pain...
September 21, 2005

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In this month's issue:

This old pain, and Active Release Therapy

Drug profile - Methysergide (Sansert, Deseril)

What do you think?

Say what?! Vertigo

This old pain, and
Active Release Therapy

Calgary used to have a baseball team known as the Calgary Outlaws. They were a part of the Canadian Baseball League, a league which lasted only a few months in 2003.

Their catcher was Pat Shippit. For years he had thrown baseballs for passion, not comfort. Every throw was painful. But why? He had been injured in college, and was later simply told that he had arthritis. But as a member of a new baseball league, he decided to try a new therapy, known as Active Release Therapy (ART).

So what is Active Release Therapy? ART is a treatment that was patented in 1988 by Dr. Michael Leahy, from Colorado USA. It is essentially a hands-on soft tissue therapy.

What happens is this. Various types of stress and injury and movement can cause problems with your muscles, nerves, and other soft tissues. They can be strained, torn, and scarred. ART uses movement and pressure to release that tension and bring the tissue back to a healthy balance.

ART is a combination of examination and treatment. The practitioner has to discern what the problem is and where it is, and then the treatment begins. Often a patient will find relief in only 4-8 sessions.

It should be obvious what this has to do with headaches. Often muscles in the neck and jaw can trigger headaches and migraine attacks because they're strained in some way. If you're in a job where you're doing a repetitive motion, or if you in the same position for many hours a day, or of course if you're in a more physical job where you can get injured, your soft tissue may be damaged. The damage may be months or years old. But the warning sign is pain. If you're dealing with pain such as headaches, have tingling in your hands, or have reduced motion or stiffness, an ART practitioner may be able to help you.

ART is no longer as obscure as the Canadian Baseball League. There are practitioners all over the world. And with people like Gary Roberts of the Maple Leafs, Bret Saberhagen of the Red Sox, and a host of everyday people claiming it has eliminated their pain, from headaches to sore backs, it's not likely to disappear any time soon.

You can search for an Active Release Therapy practitioner near you by visiting this site.
Another article about ART

Drug profile - Methysergide (Sansert, Deseril)

Methysergide is often used as a preventative for migraine and cluster attacks. It's a part of the group of medicines known as ergot alkaloids. Like many preventatives, it's not exactly known how it works on the body to prevent attacks.

Methysergide is not one of the first drugs that your doctor will recommend. There are many drugs that are safer that you will probably try first. However, it does help many people when taken properly.

Methysergide is not recommended if you're pregnant or breastfeeding. It's also not generally recommended for children at this time. You should make sure your doctor knows about your allergies and what other medications you're taking, and also if you have any other conditions, especially heart and circulation related. Common side effects include stomach pain and gastrointestinal problems, itching, dizziness and drowsiness.


Doses are different with everyone. Methysergide is generally taken daily, and an average would be 2mg two to four times a day. It is usually taken with water and food to minimize stomach problems.

Special considerations

Methysergide should not be stopped abruptly. However, your doctor will probably recommend a schedule where you take a break from it every few months. If your migraine or cluster symptoms are improved, you can continue after a period without the daily dose.

What do you think?

The Headache and Migraine News Blog has a new feature - you can now leave comments! Feel free to discuss and debate the various news stories and opinions that come down the pipe each month. Have you tried that new treatment? Have you experienced that symptom? Did you read that new book and like it - or hate it? Do you have another way to deal with that situation? Share it with us!

If the the commenting takes off (and the off-topic comments of misguided salespeople are kept to a minimum), it will be a permanent feature. It's important to hear what you think about the current issues in the world of health. We can help each other fight back against headache, migraine, and cluster attacks!

Read the latest entries now!

Say what?! Vertigo

Vertigo is the feeling that the world is spinning or that you're going to fall. There are a lot of things that can cause vertigo, and migraine is one of them. Unexplained vertigo, even without head pain, may be a migraine attack that can be treated much like other migraine attacks. Read more about vertigo here in a recent blog entry.
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