Physiotherapy For Headache Management


Extreme pain, extreme fatigue and extreme sensitivity to light and sound are often the hallmarks of a migraine. For those that suffer from migraines, there can be few things worse than this debilitating condition.

However, one expert in physiotherapy for headache management has some sage advice for sufferers.

“There is no quick fix, but there are ways to manage migraines,” says Mr Peter Robinson, President of the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA).

“People do need to seek help from their physiotherapist who can work with them on a plan to manage their headaches.”

The APA recommends the following options for migraine sufferers:

Keep a headache diary. Write down everything you eat and drink and how you feel over a period of two or three weeks. After this time your physiotherapist will be able to identify your triggers. Once you understand what is triggering your migraines, you’ll be better able to manage them.

Consider lifestyle factors. Your diet, sleep patterns and stress levels could all be contributing to your migraines – it’s important to speak to your healthcare professional about these issues as they may have recommendations that will help you cope better with your condition.

It is estimated that 60% of the population will experience some form of headache in a year.

There are many different types of headaches and physiotherapy for the neck has been shown to be effective for some types of headache.

The cervicogenic headache, which originates from the neck, has similar characteristics to tension and migraine type headaches with pain usually on one side of the head, sometimes radiating over the forehead.

There is evidence that some tension-type headaches and migraines may be caused by abnormal posture and/or biomechanics in the neck. This can occur due to whiplash injuries, long term poor posture or even sleeping positions.

Headaches can have a variety of causes. They may be caused by local problems such as tension from tight neck and shoulder muscles, or by more systemic problems such as stress. Headaches may also be caused by problems in other parts of the body

Physiotherapy aims to treat the cause of headaches and not just the pain. Neck and shoulder problems are common in people who suffer from headaches. A physiotherapist can use a variety of manual techniques (massage and joint mobilisation) to help release tight muscles, improve range of movement and provide headache relief.

Physiotherapy treatment is often combined with exercises which may include stretching or strengthening. These exercises are designed to prevent muscle tightness or weakness re-occurring and to maintain any improvements made during treatment. You should be given advice on how to prevent your problem occurring again.

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