Tips To Alleviate Migraine And Headache Pain


Migraines, often considered to be the most debilitating of all headaches, are believed to affect approximately 37 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, many turn to over-the-counter pain medication, including acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin; others use prescription medication. However, if taken too often--or incorrectly--for prolonged periods of time, these medications can sometimes lead to ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, and medication-overuse headaches.

During June, which is Headache Awareness Month, Accelerated Rehabilitation 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."

Physical therapy can sometimes enhance and prolong the pain-reducing effects of pharmaceuticals. Also, 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
>>Exercise regularly
>>Avoid known triggers such as certain foods and smells
>>Use a good, supportive pillow
>>Try hot showers or heating pad
>>Try cold pack or ice
>>Practice good 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, or infection.

Source: Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers, Ltd,