Emsworth mum who suffers chronic migraines has transformed her life with swimming
AN EMSWORTH mum-of-two who feared she might never have a ‘normal day out’ with her children again due to a difficult condition has transformed her life with swimming.
Accountant Rachel Jack suffers from chronic vestibular migraine, which she describes as ‘your balance system falling out with your brain’ and causes her daily discomfort – making exercise hard.
But swimming at the Nuffield Health pool in Portsmouth has been ‘a saviour’ for the 39-year-old’s mental and physical health since her diagnosis.
She said: ‘It took me an entire year to receive my diagnosis, so it’s been a really long journey – but my happy place is in the water. I have always swum, but it is because of my health condition that I have really got into it and felt the benefits of swimming.
‘I essentially have 24/7 pressure in my head, and as I’m unable to tolerate medication it’s so important to use exercise as a way to cope. Even the journey to being diagnosed, accepting the condition and the stress and worry that brought – for a long time I had been terrified about what my life might be reduced to, and swimming has just completely boosted my confidence.’
Common symptoms of a regular migraine include a severe throbbing headache, nausea and vomiting and sensitivety to light and sound.
However, symptoms of vestibular migraines also include vertigo, sensitivety to movement and loss of balance, and is thought around one per cent of the population is affected by them.
Rachel, who lives with her children April, 10, Teddy, seven and husband Phil, added: ‘I took some time to get in and go for it, but now I’m definitely my happiest in the water. I’ve built up my exercise levels over time, and because in water I am less reliant on my balance system, I am able to just feel free.
‘I cannot stress enough how much freedom and relief swimming has given me.’
It comes as Swim England has sent an open letter the government’s Department of Health and Social Care amid concerns that a national reduction in the number of swimming pools will affect people who use them for health reasons.
The south east is projected to have a shortage of 124 pools by 2030.