Headaches & Migraines: Relief with Physiotherapy
Tired of battling those persistent headaches and migraines? Don’t fret, because here at PhysioFlex on the Gold Coast we will make you feel head-over-heels better. Did you know that physiotherapy could be your secret weapon against those pesky head-pounders? Alright so enough one liners. Let’s go, as we embark on a journey to unveil the soothing touch of physiotherapy in tackling headaches and migraines. We will cover what a migraine and headache is and their differences, the symptoms of migraines, the types of headaches (from cluster headache to tension headache) and then how we provide relief with physiotherapy.
Migraines: More Than Just a Headache
Migraines aren’t your run-of-the-mill headaches – they’re like a storm in your head, a symphony of discomfort that can take over your day. These severe headaches often come with pulsating pain, throbbing sensations, and a range of accompanying symptoms. Migraines are believed to be related to changes in the brain and surrounding blood vessels. While their exact cause isn’t fully understood, factors like genetics, hormonal fluctuations, and triggers in the environment or diet can contribute to their onset. But worry not, because PhysioFlex has your back (and your head!).
Symptoms of Migraines
Migraines come with a whole entourage of symptoms, making sure you never forget their presence. Nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual disturbances (known as auras) often accompany the throbbing pain. Migraine sufferers may experience auras as flashing lights, zig-zag lines, or blind spots in their field of vision. These symptoms are like the body’s emergency signals, urging you to take action and seek relief. If you think you are experiencing any symptoms of migraines, please read through to the end to decipher between a migraine or headache. Then use the different types of headaches or migraines below to choose which one fits best with your symptoms of migraines and headaches.
What are Headaches?
Headaches, on the other hand, are the unwelcome guests that knock on your door when you least expect them. They’re not always as intense as migraines, but they can still put a dent in your day. Headaches can stem from various sources, including tension, muscle tightness, stress, dehydration, certain foods or even that pesky desk chair that just won’t get comfortable. Identifying the underlying cause is the first step towards finding the right treatment and saying goodbye to the discomfort.
The Difference Between Migraines and Headaches
Migraines and headaches might share the same neighbourhood (your head), but they’re not the same tenants. Migraines bring with them a more complex set of symptoms and often a higher intensity of pain. Headaches, on the other hand, can be triggered by a range of factors and might not come with the same aura or intense nausea that characterises migraines. Lets now look into the different types of headaches.
Types of Headaches
We touch on the main types of headaches that present to us here at PhysioFlex but there are a plethora of other types of headaches that we have not mentioned here. Another excellent resource that we recommend reading and exploring is Migraine & Headache Australia Association.
Sinus headaches love to team up with congestion and pressure, creating a symphony of discomfort around your eyes, cheeks, and forehead. Inflammation in the sinus cavities often plays a leading role.
Cluster headaches are like clockwork – they strike with precision and bring intense, piercing pain around one eye. These headaches often occur at night time, come in clusters, hence the name, and can occur daily for weeks or months before disappearing for a while. Cluster headaches do not have a specific test but we can rule out other types of headaches.
Picture a tight band around your head (as pictured above) – that’s the sensation of a tension headache. Stress, poor posture, and muscle tension can all contribute to this type of headache, leaving you with a constant ache that’s not to be ignored.
A hypertension headache is caused by an increase in blood pressure hence the name hypertension. Your systolic blood pressure would normally sit around 120. But if this rises up over 140 then this can create the hypertension and headache around your head and it is time to see your doctor. Things like not enough fluid or other cardiovascular related issues can cause an increased blood pressure.
Occipital neuralgia – it’s a mouthful, but it doesn’t have to be a pain in the neck (or head). This headache is like a nerve in revolt, causing sharp, shooting pains along the back of your head and into your scalp. The occipital nerves run from from the back of the neck and into the scalp. Often triggered by neck movements or pressure on the nerves, occipital neuralgia demands attention and targeted treatment.
Vestibular migraines can throw your world off balance – literally. Dizziness, vertigo, nausea and headaches. But fret not, because we’re here to restore your equilibrium and help you stand tall. Pathophysiology of the vestibular migraine remains poorly understood. In addition to trigeminovascular dysfunction, considered the primary migraine mechanism, vestibular hyperexcitability can play a role.
“Cervico” refers to the cervical spine and the vertebrae of your neck. So neck pain takes the lead in this headache, radiating discomfort to your head. Poor posture, muscle imbalances, and joint dysfunction can all contribute to this pain. The Physiotherapists here at PhysioFlex have excellent results with dry needling, particularly through the occipital region.
When inflammation joins the headache party, cervical spondylitis is often the guest of honour. It’s like a twinge in your neck that radiates upward, causing headaches as a side effect. It is also known as cervical spondylosis or cervical arthritis and is a result of degeneration over time. It can cause stiffness and weakness through the neck. So the Physiotherapists will concentrate on the deep neck flexors at the front of the neck to increase stability and posture to excellent affect.
Migraines are like puzzle pieces, and their causes can be equally complex. Genetics, hormonal shifts, environmental triggers, and even certain foods can set the stage for a migraine episode. Understanding your personal triggers is key to managing and preventing migraines. We suggest keeping a diary of the foods you eat, the exercise you complete, your sleep and your daily routine. Mention the duration, time of day and any other specifics that will help you pin point the trigger.
Headaches, from tension to cluster, often have their own set of triggers. Stress, dehydration, poor posture, too much screen time, a caffeine withdrawal and muscle tension can all contribute to headaches. Identifying the cause is crucial in finding effective relief. A good start is to ask yourself where exactly is the headache?Is it behind my eye, is it headache at the back of my head or is the headache around my head? From there it will be easier for your physiotherapist to determine whats causing the headache. Combining this with a trigger diary will be an excellent way to curb your headaches.
Migraine relief isn’t just a dream – it’s a reality waiting for you at PhysioFlex. Our physiotherapy prowess is your ticket to a world where migraines take a back seat and you reclaim control of your life. Say goodbye to migraine misery with our tailored relief strategies. From targeted physiotherapy techniques to relaxation exercises and lifestyle adjustments, we’re here to help you navigate the storm and emerge on the other side. After we complete our assessment we will pick the best suited treatment techniques from the options below.
Once we determine your type of headache or migraine, our arsenal of headache-busting tools will include manual therapy, specialised exercises, and posture corrections. We’ll target the source of your discomfort, whether it’s tense muscles, misaligned joints, or nerve irritation. With our guidance, you’ll be well on your way to a life with fewer headaches and more headspace for the things you love. Again we will pick a specialised assortment of treatment techniques from the options below.
Wave goodbye to headaches and migraines and say hello to a world of relief and vitality. Contact PhysioFlex on the Gold Coast and let us be your partners in conquering head discomfort. Our expert physiotherapists are eager to design a customised plan that paves the way for a headache-free life. Reach out today and embark on your journey to head-over-heels wellness!