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Migraines and Physical Therapy Options

migrainesMigraines are the 6th most disabling illness in the world and approximately 37 million experience migraines. Every 10 seconds someone is being admitted to the emergency room complaining of head pain. The proper pain relief for headaches and migraines might just be found in physical therapy.

Migraines are a pain that is far more intense that just a bad headache. Migraines are a genetic neurological disorder in the central nervous system which results in the pain and neurological symptoms associated with a migraine headache. Other diseases or disorders such as head injury and brain tumors do not cause migraines. The recurring, severe and throbbing pain usually affects only one side of the head however there are cases where the entire head experiences pain. These painful episodes that affect one side of the head as well as the entire head in some cases are known as migraine attacks and usually last between four and 72 hours.

Unfortunately, migraine attacks are often accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Visual disturbances
    • Aura is a visual disturbance in which nearly 25% of migraine sufferers experience and it usually lasts less than an hour
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Intense sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell
  • Extremities or face experience tingling or numbness

Most migraine sufferers have moderate or severe pain and experience 15 migraine days per month. Because the pain of the migraine is intensely painful, most Migraine sufferers and are not able to participate in normal activities.  In fact, most of the time they try to find a quiet, dark room.

Migraine sufferers and the treatment plan varies by person as there really isn’t a cure for migraines. We highly recommend our patients to log things in order to begin to identify the triggers and figure out how to avoid those triggers. We also recommend to our migraine sufferers that they need to manage their stress better, improve their sleep habits by going to bed earlier and modify their diets.

Many headaches are associated with muscle and joint pain while others are caused by sinus issues, tumors and vascular problems. Physical therapy can help treat the headaches that are caused by muscle tension and tightness, disc pathology, lack of neck motion or poor posture.

Since migraines are affected in the central nervous system in which medication is often prescribed. Physical therapy involves treating the muscles and joints which is different for each patient therefore the physical therapy treatment will be differently based on the extent to which muscles and joints are involved in the migraine.

At Fusion Physical Therapy in order to determine the problem areas we will perform an evaluation and will create a customized treatment plan to relieve the pain in those areas. We will use heat and/or ice, soft tissue mobilization, muscular releases, muscle stretches if the pain is in the neck or surrounding areas. We will also spend time with each patient to educate them on posture and body mechanics. Contact us today via phone at 580-699-5455 or online at for quick pain relief.

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