My name is Jen. I’m a work-from-home mom. I work part-time doing proofreading and grant writing for local non-profits. I also do some shopping for Shipt in my “free time.” I have a daughter, Hannah, who is 17 months old.

When my husband and I decided it was time to try and grow our family, I had two major concerns about being pregnant: cutting out caffeine and not being able to take ibuprofen. I have suffered from headache pain pretty much my whole life, from childhood migraines to almost daily tension headaches. Caffeine and ibuprofen were essential parts of most of my days.

Knowing I was going to have to cut these two drugs out of my daily routine, I started searching for drug-free alternatives to nix the throbbing pain in my head and neck. A family member mentioned they had started seeing a medical massage therapist with great results, and I figured it was worth a shot.

Going to a day spa for a massage is amazing, right? Fluffy robes, comfy beds, soft music, essential oils, and warm gentle hands easing away your stress. This wasn’t like that. While there was some soft music and a relatively comfortable bed, it was 30 minutes of pain and discomfort. She commented on the tightness of my muscles, my hips being crooked, and the spasms she was witnessing in my neck. I had no idea anyone could “see” the cause of my headaches. When I left, she recommended lots of water and some Tylenol. Ouch.

But after a few visits, I noticed that the number of headache days I was having each month was decreasing pretty drastically. And I was off the caffeine and ibuprofen completely! I continued to see her once per month during my pregnancy, which not only kept my headaches at bay but also helped with pregnancy pains and discomforts too.

When my daughter was born, I decided I wasn’t going back to work. Our household budget got cut by 40%. Paying for a monthly massage seemed like an expense that was going to have to get crossed out of our budget. Desperate, I talked to my doctor. Because I had a documented history of headache pain and had tracked the number of headache days before and after I started massage therapy, she was able to provide me with a letter stating that my monthly massages were medically necessary. They’re not covered by our insurance, but we are able to use the funds in our Health Savings Account (HSA) to pay for them which is a huge blessing.

Chasing around a very active and curious toddler is hard. It’s virtually impossible with a splitting headache. I am so thankful that I’ve been able to continue my monthly massage therapy appointments. I make my appointments later in the day when my husband can be home or on the one day a week my daughter goes to the babysitter for a few hours. While it’s not super relaxing, it’s 30 minutes of peace and quiet that allows me to focus on keeping my body healthy so I can keep up with my beautiful girl.