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What can a Physical Therapist do for Migraines and Headaches?

By: Vickie Rainville PT, DPT


Did you know that June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month? Migraines affect over 39 million people (about twice the population of New York) in the US alone. Every 10 seconds, someone in the world experiences a migraine attack. Headaches are not just a minor inconvenience – they affect daily life for millions.  

 

Migraines don't discriminate – they affect people of all ages and backgrounds.  90% of people experiencing migraines can't work or function normally during an attack?  

 

“Per studies, about 17% of American women experience migraines and 6% of men. That is just migraines. Tension-type headaches are even more common. According to research, about 38%, 125 million people, of the United States population experience tension-type headaches. So, about half the United States population suffers from just 2 impairments; migraine headaches (38 million) and tension-type headaches (125 million). The majority of those people are easily and effectively treated with the thoughtful combination of dry needling and joint manipulation. They are suffering needlessly. 

 

Tissue damage itself, whether it be tight muscles, strained tissues, broken bones, etc., does not hurt. Our brain’s interpretation of the signals coming from those tissues is what hurts. Oftentimes, tissue pathology is present long before the symptoms present themselves. What leads to conscious observation of headache pain, typically, is your autonomic nervous system reaching its unique upper sympathetic limit threshold of tolerance to pathology throughout the body and mind. This can occur from a large problem in a small area, or a lot of small problems distributed throughout the body, or both. So, the pathologic tissue must be addressed.”



Physical therapy offers non-pharmacological approaches to manage symptoms and enhance overall well-being. Physical therapy can play a crucial role in managing these conditions by addressing posture, muscle tension, and trigger points.  From specialized exercises, lifestyle adjustments, along with joint manipulation and dry needling there's hope for a pain-free life. 


Some things that may also be helpful are relaxation techniques, good sleep and nutrition, and staying hydrated.  Keeping a headache journal is also helpful as well as exercising regularly.  Always "ask your health care provider if these treatments are right for you. If you're pregnant, don't use any of these treatments without first talking with your provider." 

 

Call us today at 770-998-6636 or visit us at www.asaphysicaltherapy.com to schedule a consultation or evaluation with one of our physical therapists.   

This June, let's stand together for Migraine and Headache Awareness Month.  #MigraineAwareness #HeadacheMonth #PhysicalTherapy

 

References 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vickie Rainville has been practicing physical therapy since 2000 with a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy from Sacred Heart University then received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2010, also from Sacred Heart. Vickie also holds a Bachelor's degree in Athletic Training from Springfield College. Vickie's practice blends a unique combination of skills developed through her experiences as a physical therapist and an athletic trainer. In addition to practicing in outpatient, skilled nursing, and home health settings, she also brings many years of field and clinic experience in high school and collegiate athletics. Her clinical strengths include manual therapy, orthopedics, sports medicine, geriatrics, neurological care, women’s health, and post-breast cancer rehabilitation.



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