NNC Faculty Feature: Christie Tait
This Bulletin we feature Christie Tait, a Nurse Practitioner who plans to offer the MBCPMTM course, this Fall, online, starting September 20th, to those suffering migraines and post-traumatic headaches.
Christie specializes in the diagnosis and management of headache disorders, which are often under-diagnosed and under treated1. Headache and migraine attacks can profoundly impact function, with days lost from work, missed family events, and decreased enjoyment of life for sufferers and their loved ones.
Christie developed a personal understanding of the benefits of mindfulness and meditation in her own life as a chronic migraine sufferer raising young children.
She discovered that research supported the use of mindfulness in headache disorders 2,3 and was impressed by a study comparing migraine sufferers who received either health education or a course of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). This study showed that, although both groups had a reduction in headache days, the mindfulness group had sustained improvements in quality of life, headache disability, depression, pain catastrophizing, and self-efficacy well after the course concluded3.
Over the last several years Christie has recommended mindfulness and meditation to her patients and has witnessed the positive changes reported in their quality of life when they committed to consistent mindfulness and meditation practice.
Her training and experience: Christie began her career as a Registered Nurse in 2007 after completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Toronto. She spent over ten years working in emergency departments where she often cared for migraine sufferers struggling with disabling attacks. Some were frequent visitors to the ERs, requiring hours of IV fluid and medication to regain some control over their migraine attacks to allow them to return to their lives.
After completing a Masters of Nursing and Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate at Ryerson University, she moved into the field of neurology with a focus on headache disorders and persisting post-concussion syndromes.
Recognizing mindfulness as an invaluable practice for her patients, Christie completed the certificate program in Mindfulness Based Chronic Pain Management™ offered through the NeuroNova Centre (NNC) at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies (UTSCS).
What is a Nurse Practitioner? Nurse Practitioners (NPs), such as Christie, are healthcare providers who have a wider scope of practice that is more similar to physicians. They are independent providers, trained to order investigations, diagnose health conditions, and prescribe medications. They apply their skills in health promotion and education, in addition to managing and prescribing treatments and medication.
Many NPs like Christie choose to work in specialized areas and offer holistic and integrative approaches to care for individuals with complex or chronic conditions.
Her Practice: Christie recognized the need for a personal and comprehensive model of care for headache sufferers that focuses on wellness of both body and mind. With wait times often lengthy to consult with headache specialists, she started her own private practice – Structure Clinic – providing a collaborative comprehensive approach resulting in customized treatment plans relevant and meaningful to people living with these challenging conditions. Christie can optimize prescription medications and administer treatments, such as Botox injections for chronic migraine.
She is also the Director of the Headache Program and Botox Clinic at The Neurology Centre of Toronto and a clinician at the Toronto Headache and Pain Clinic.
Christie is excited to be adding to her skills by offering a Mindfulness Based Chronic Pain Management (MBCPM™) course this fall and is hoping those suffering headache and migraines will consider registering. The course will run online for eight weeks from September 20 to November 15, 2021 on Mondays 11:00 am to 1:30 pm ET (no class on October 11th) and will be co- facilitated with Grace Bezaire, a mindfulness instructor with NNC/UTSCS and a migraine sufferer.
Nurse Practitioners are not covered by OHIP. Private insurance companies/extended benefit plans may cover their services but this varies depending on the individual plan. Course registration fee receipts can be submitted through a health spending account which are becoming more common as an extension of benefits in many industries.
1 Buse, D.C., Armand, C.E., Charleston, L., IV, Reed, M.L., Fanning, K.M., Adams, A.M. and Lipton, R.B. (2021), Barriers to care in episodic and chronic migraine: Results from the Chronic Migraine Epidemiology and Outcomes Study. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 61: 628-641. https://doi.org/10.1111/head.14103
2 Gu Q, Hou JC, Fang XM. Mindfulness Meditation for Primary Headache Pain: A Meta-Analysis. Chin Med J (Engl). 2018 Apr 5;131(7):829-838. doi: 10.4103/0366-6999.228242. PMID: 29578127; PMCID: PMC5887742.
3 Wells RE, O’Connell N, Pierce CR, Estave P, Penzien DB, Loder E, Zeidan F, Houle TT. Effectiveness of Mindfulness Meditation vs Headache Education for Adults With Migraine: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2021 Mar 1;181(3):317-328. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.7090. PMID: 33315046; PMCID: PMC7737157.