Physiotherapy for Migraines
At Circular Quay Physio & Pilates, we have a special interest in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of migraine and headache disorders. In particular, we focus on the diagnosis and treatment of neck headache and jaw headache. Your headache Circular Quay Physiotherapist will be able to assist your diagnosis and migraine or headache source.
How do physical therapy techniques help migraines?
Certain physical therapy techniques used during a headache (especially at the beginning) can help to reduce the pain of the attack at least temporarily. Patients can be taught the best way to utilize modalities such as ice and relaxation. Family members can be instructed in massage techniques or manual cervical traction.
Migraine headaches may occur with a feeling of tension and discomfort in the neck. Although this tension is thought to be secondary to the migraine (not the cause of it), stretching exercises can sometimes be useful in helping to reduce the discomfort.
What is the goal of Physiotherapy?
A careful history and physical examination by a physical therapist who is knowledgeable and experienced in treating patients with migraine headache can help determine whether and to what extent treatment may be helpful. The goals of physical therapy treatment are generally to normalize the musculoskeletal system as much as possible in order to reduce stress and tension on soft tissues and joints.
For example, in the instance described above for trigger points in the upper trapezius muscle, the therapist would likely work on stretching the problematic muscle fibers. In addition, posture, alignment, and strength issues would need to be addressed, as faulty mechanics in these areas can contribute to the development of trigger points.
The joints of the upper cervical spine can also be culprits in referring pain into the head. These joints can be injured in an accident, or can develop increasing stiffness and pain gradually over time. Our physical therapist’s job is to help restore mobility in these joints and correct muscle imbalances, poor postures, and physical activities that contributed to the problem in the first place. Problems with the joints and the muscles often occur together and contribute to one another, thus both must be adequately addressed for effective pain control to result.
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