Tips To Alleviate Migraine And Headache Pain
Migraines, considered to be the most debilitating of all headaches, affect 12 percent of the population worldwide and approximately 28 million people in the US. Sufferers frequently live in fear of the next headache onset, experience a disrupted sense of well-being, have a restricted ability to work and can develop family and other relationship problems.
For relief, most turn to over-the-counter pain medication, including Tylenol, Excedrin and prescription medication. However, if taken too often - or incorrectly - for prolonged periods of time, these medications can lead to ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, medication-overuse headaches and even death.
During June, which is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, Accelerated Physical Therapy is encouraging headache sufferers to visit their physician and consider physical therapy as an integral part of treatment.
"We see many headache patients in our centers," explains Denise Schneider, PT, head of the Accelerated headache program. "As specially-trained physical therapists, we are very successful in evaluating and treating headaches and, in some cases, reducing the pain to a point where medical intervention is no longer required."
Pharmaceuticals can play a role in treatment, but physical therapy can enhance and prolong their pain-reducing effects. Medication sometimes does not resolve headaches caused by mechanical or soft tissue dysfunction or postural deficits.
"There are specific techniques we use, including soft tissue massage, head/space orientation exercises, deep neck muscle exercises, manual traction and joint-specific mobilizations that are highly beneficial," Schneider explains.
Schneider offers these tips for migraine and other headache sufferers to try at home:
-Eat regular meals
-Get regular sleep
-Avoid known triggers such as food and smells
-Use a good pillow
-Try hot showers or heating pad
-Try cold pack or ice
-Watch your posture
-Drink plenty of water
Schneider recognizes that physical therapy can't treat all headaches. "It has to have a musculo-skeletal or mechanical component," she explains. This is also why she recommends a medical evaluation first to rule out causes that may require medical intervention, such as a tumor, vascular disease of infection.
If you would like to schedule an Accelerated Free Injury Screen to discuss your headache, visit acceleratedrehab.com.