Advanced PT. Physical Therapy For Migraines

HEALTH & FITNESS The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body

PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR MIGRAINES

Getting To The Root Of The Problem

ALSO INSIDE

PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR MIGRAINES • PATIENT RESULTS EXERCISE ESSENTIALS • SPECIAL OFFER

HEALTH & FITNESS The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body

PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR MIGRAINES

Getting To The Root Of The Problem

If you are one of the 15 percent of the general population that suffers from migraines, you know that the worst part is feeling helpless. Whether you feel helpless when it comes to preventing a migraine or helpless when it comes to treating a migraine, you can’t help but feel enslaved by a condition that causes 91 percent of sufferers to miss work or other daily activities. Fortunately, the solution for migraine management may be simpler than you think. What is migraine? According to the American Migraine Foundation, a migraine attack is not considered a headache but a neurological disease. Nearly twice as many women as men are affected by migraines. Attacks are usually characterized by painful throbbing or pulsing on one side of the head, usually accompanied by changes in vision, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, or sensitivity to sound. Migraine attacks usually begin in childhood but can begin during adolescence or early adulthood.  What causes a migraine attack? One of the most frustrating parts of a migraine is that there is no definitive cause, therefore there is no definitive cure. Some researchers believe that a migraine is caused by changes in the chemicals in the brain that regulate pain.

Others feel that problems in the brainstem and its interaction with certain neural pathways cause migraines. Still others believe environmental factors play a role in migraines. Diet, exercise, light, heat, stress, medication, or changes in sleep can all affect whether a person experiences a migraine attack. Other risk factors include age, family history of migraine and hormonal changes due to puberty or menopause. How is a migraine traditionally treated? Since there is no definitive cause for migraine attacks, most physicians focus on limiting the duration or severity of a person’s symptoms. Medications are often prescribed that either target a person’s serotonin levels or relieve pain, but stomach problems due to frequent NSAID use or medication overuse sometimes result. Many of these medications are also most effective before a person is in pain. If they react to the warning symptoms that a migraine attack is coming, many times they can avoid the worst of their symptoms. (continued inside) Call (316) 283-7187 today to speak with a physical therapist or to schedule your free consultation.

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PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR MIGRAINES

Getting To The Root Of The Problem

(continued from outside) One of the most promising long-term solutions for chronic migraine sufferers is physical therapy. One study showed that migraine sufferers who participated regularly in physical therapy experienced a significant reduction in their symptoms and severity. The improvement did not end with the prescribed course of physical therapy. In fact, its effect was still felt a year later when migraine sufferers reported a continued reduction in incidence and severity. Best of all, physical therapy is non-pharmacological and void of the side effects Traditionally, people think of physical therapy as a post-surgical or post-accident process designed to improve mobility and balance. While this is an important function, its scope provides a narrow picture of what physical therapy can do. Physical therapists are trained to recognize limits to the body’s function and prescribe ways to restore movement, balance, strength, mobility, and harmony of the body’s systems. For instance, some migraine sufferers experience neck and jaw pain that triggers an event. Physical therapists can recognize the cause of this pain and address it with manual therapies and exercise that, in turn, relieve a person’s symptoms. Even if the cause of a patient’s migraine is undefined, a physical therapist’s approach is ideal for identifying and addressing the underlying causes that may be contributing to a person’s symptoms.  Manual Therapies Physical therapists will likely perform techniques designed to improve the range of motion in the patient’s neck. This may include joint mobilization techniques, so many other medications carry.  Physical Therapy for Migraine

massage, physical therapy, or pressure point therapy. These manual therapy techniques reduce pain, but they also keep the head and neck moving the way they should. Manual therapies, especially massage, have also been shown to help migraine sufferers sleep better and experience attacks less frequently.  Exercise Physical therapy targeted at migraines may include neck flexion exercises, postural exercises and recommendations for work or school accommodations that may help limit migraine frequency or severity. Additionally, regular aerobic exercise has been shown to reduce tension in the muscles that may be related to migraine symptoms. It can also help a person maintain a healthy weight that is essential to balancing hormone levels that may also contribute to migraines. Physical therapists are adept at prescribing customized exercise programs for every fitness level. While there is no definitive cure for migraines, physical therapy is among the most promising ways to manage your symptoms both now and in the future. Drug-free manual therapies coupled with targeted exercise at the hands of a physical therapist may be the key to managing the frequency, duration and severity of your migraine attacks. The only way to find out if physical therapy is right for you is to contact us for a consultation. Let us help you get on the road to better management of your migraine symptoms.

Sources americanmigrainefoundation.org/understanding-migraine/ americanmigrainefoundation.org/understanding-migraine-cat/migraine-triggers/ www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3072494/

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Exercise Essentials Try these exercises to relieve pain.

Exercises For Headaches

Mckenzie Method for Treating Headaches Often headaches can be relieved by these recommended exercises. It will not do any harm to perform these exercises for a couple days in order to find out whether you benefit from them or not. The first three days you should perform Exercise 1 (Head retraction in sitting) 6-8 times a day, 10 repetitions each time and whenever you feel a headache developing. If this reduces your headaches but does not abolish them completely, you should add Exercise 2 (Neck flexion in sitting). In particular, headaches that spread over the top of your head to above or behind the eyes are often relieved with this exercise. In case your headaches are not relieved by these two exercises, try sustaining the end range position for 1-2 minutes.

Patient Results

I have way less headaches!

Before therapy, I had a very stiff neck. It was difficult to turnmy head without neck pain, and I had constant headaches. Since therapy, I have good range of motion with my neck as well as less pain. I understand stretches that help reduce pain and stiffness. Plus, I have way fewer headaches.” - M.M. My vertigo has improved 100%! Before therapy, I had headaches and neck pain everyday. I also had severe vertigo that would make me nauseous and ill. Since therapy, my vertigo has improved 100%, and I can now go for several days at a time without severe neck pain and headaches.” - A.H. Therapy has helped me so much! Therapy has helped me so much! I came to APT with neck pain and terrible headaches. Since therapy, my headaches are gone, and I am pain free. Don’t live with those aches and pains, come and meet the therapists. They are all caring and will get you back to enjoying life!” - N.S.

Exercise 1 | Head Retraction Sit in a chair with good posture, then tuck your head in gently as if you are nodding ‘yes.’ Repeat 10 times, 6-8 times throughout the day as needed.

Exercise 2 | Neck Flexion Sit with good picture. Tuck in your chin, bending your head toward your chest. You can use your hand on top of your head to provide assistance. Avoid flexing forward through your upper back. Repeat 6-8 times throughout the day as needed.

Relieves Neck Pain

Cervical Retraction Stand with your back against a wall. Tuck your chin in like you are nodding ‘yes,’ then draw your chin closer to the back of your throat. Repeat 10 times.

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