Migraines and Physical Therapy

Migraines are chronic headaches associated with various symptoms and levels of severity. They can last 4 hours to 3 days in duration and can vary from mild to severe in sensation. Though primarily treated with medications, patients with migraines can benefit from physical therapy as well.

Much like how certain conditions are addressed by treating associated symptoms, migraine headaches can be combated by treating associated musculature. Many variants of migraines are connected to the pericranial muscles (they are often tender during migraines). Migraines can also lead to tension in the sub occipital and other cervical muscles of the body. PT interventions such as manual therapy and stretching can help alleviate these symptoms and be overall beneficial to patients with these types of headaches.

Studies have been made comparing the efficacy of PT, manual therapy, medication and other methods in treating migraines. Some of these studies suggest that PT interventions are as effective as prophylactic medicines such as Propanolol and Topiramate. Other studies state that PT is most effective in treating migraines when combined with other interventions such as thermal biofeedback and exercise. If you have migraine headaches, go ask your Physical therapist and see what treatments are available for you.

Sources:

Biondi, D. M. (June 2005). Physical Treatments for Headache: A Structured Review. Headache. Vol Jun 45(6): 738-46. Retrieved from pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Chaibi, A. et al. (November 2010). Manual Therapies for migraine: a systemic review. J Headache Pain. Vol 2011, 12:127-133. Retrieved from DOI 10.1007/s10194-011-0296-6

Neil, R. (December 2017). Everything you want to know about migraine. Healthline. Retrieved from Healthline.com

Physiopedia. (2020). Migraine Headache. Physiopedia. Retrieved from physio-pedia.com

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