A migraine is no common headache. The pain can be so intense that it can be debilitating. Unfortunately, migraines are common in the U.S. and around the world.
According to the National Institutes of Health, about one out of every seven Americans suffers from migraines. It is also the third most common medical disorder globally. Much about migraines is still a mystery, but we are learning that physical therapy and other lifestyle changes can help reduce their frequency and intensity. This is particularly true when migraines are accompanied by neck pain.
Some researchers point to the trigeminocervical complex as a connection between the head and the neck. The trigeminocervical complex comprises the upper neck, jaw, and trigeminal nerve. This nerve supplies sensation to the face and head. When irritated, the nerve may cause migraines and neck pain.
At ProFysio Physical Therapy, our professionals will assess your symptoms to determine the best course of action for you. Call us at (732) 812-5200 to schedule an appointment.
Exercises for Migraine Reduction
The creation of a migraine treatment plan begins with a thorough evaluation by the physical therapist. The therapist will ask about any diagnostic tests that have been conducted, the frequency of the pain, pain medications you have tried, and details of your overall symptoms. Measuring your neck’s range of motion and a postural assessment are also usually completed.
Based on your evaluation, exercises may include the following:
- Cervical Retraction, Flexion, Side-Bending, and Rotation: Improving flexibility and improving range of motion to release tension in the neck
- Rhomboid Strengtheners: Increasing the support of the upper back and help hold proper alignment
- Pectoral Stretches: Lengthening chest muscles to help posture and decrease pain
Tai chi, yoga, isometric, and other low-impact exercises are often beneficial for migraine sufferers. Take note of any exercise or movement that you believe may lead to a migraine. You should consult your physical therapist or doctor before starting any exercise program.
Additional Helpful Migraine Therapies
Traditional physical therapy exercises and stretches are only a few of the therapies that may improve your migraine condition.
At ProFysio Physical Therapy, other treatments available that may reduce migraine and neck pain include the following:
- EPAT (Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology): Reduces musculoskeletal discomfort, including neck
- Vestibular and Balance Therapy: Improve vertigo or dizziness that are often hand-in-hand with migraine episodes
- Spine Rehabilitation: Focuses on stretches, exercises, posture training, and more to return the spine to health
- Cupping Therapy:Increases blood flow to tight muscles while reducing inflammation
- Concussion Therapy: Improves the physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms, such as migraines and neck pain, that can accompany a head injury
- Graston Technique®: Enhances range of motion by mobilizing soft tissue to treat fascial restrictions.
Lifestyle Changes May Curtail Migraine Pain
Tight muscles and stress are among the leading triggers of migraine pain. There are actions you can take that can improve your pain. A self-assessment of your daily activities can help you identify triggers.
You should consider whether any of the following is a contributing factor in your migraine pain:
- Improper ergonomics at work
- Repetitive movements
- High levels of stress or anxiety
- Loss in overall physical flexibility
- Joint disease (particularly in the neck)
- Food allergies
There is a great range of migraine symptoms that varies from person to person. Intense pain is a hallmark symptom but does not necessarily occur with every migraine.
Non-pain symptoms for migraines include the following:
- Seeing spots
- Seeing flashing flights
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Temporary vision loss
Some people experience symptoms that serve as a prelude to the migraine. Irritability, unusual food cravings, constipation, and frequent yawning sometimes happen a day or two before onset.
Physical Therapy as Part of Your Migraine Treatment Plan
Physical therapy and complementary treatments may help you live with fewer migraines and less pain. Our professionals are highly trained Doctors of Physical Therapy with extensive experience in treating a spectrum of pain conditions. Our cutting-edge and time-tested therapies may help you return to a fuller life not hampered by frequent migraines.Don’t let transportation issues prevent you from beginning treatment. We offer complimentary transportation to and from your appointments. Learn whether we might be able to help your migraine condition in a free consultation. Contact us using our online form or by calling (732) 812-5200