Tips, Tools and How Physiotherapy Can Help.


Generally, a physiotherapist would not be the first person you would think of to seek help for your headaches. However, physiotherapists can make a big difference to help relieve your
headache/migraine. Specific manual therapy techniques, posture corrections, and particular
exercises can help relieve the headaches/migraines you experience.

What Are the Symptoms of a Headache/Migraine?

Headaches and migraines can present in many different ways. Sometimes, one may
experience the exact same symptoms each time they have a headache. Other times, each
headache experience presents with different symptoms. People that experience
headaches/migraines may feel any of the following symptoms:

  • Stabbing
  • Pressure
  • Heaviness
  • Nausea
  • Neck pain
  • Ache
  • Squeezing
  • Burning
  • Clamp/vice-like
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Throbbing
  • Visual disturbances
  • Sound disturbances

What Are the Causes and Triggers for Headaches/Migraines?

It is unknown why some people get headaches/migraines and others don’t. Some contributing
factors that can cause headaches/migraines include:

  • Stress
  • Poor posture
  • Eyesight problems
  • Irregular eating patterns
  • Dehydration
  • Medication side effects
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Trauma
  • Sickness/being ill

Some people may also have specific triggers that bring on their headache/migraine on or let
them know that a headache/migraine is imminent. Triggers may include:

  • Certain alcohol, predominantly wine
  • Certain foods, like chocolate or processed meats
  • Stress
  • Changes to their sight/vision, like an aura
  • Pain/discomfort in the body other than the head

How Can Physiotherapy Help Relieve My Headache/Migraine?

Physiotherapists start by discussing your headache/migraine journey. This begins with a very
thorough discussion of the history of your headache/migraine. Headaches and migraines can
be quite uncomfortable, persistent, and debilitating. Physiotherapists can help relieve your
symptoms, give you the tools to help manage your headaches/migraines and get you back to
enjoying your everyday life.

After determining the type of headache/migraine you experience, physiotherapists can also
look at your neck. Certain areas in your neck can actually be contributing to your
headache/migraine. After deciding what area is contributing, specific manual therapy
techniques can be used to help relieve your symptoms. Changes to your symptoms should
happen relatively quickly. These changes should involve a decrease in how strong the
headache/migraine feels, how often they happen, or how long your symptoms last for.

Headaches Physiotherapists Can Help With:

  • Migraines with/without aura
  • Tension type headache
  • Cervicogenic headache
  • Cluster headache
  • TMJ (jaw) headache
  • Menstrual headache
  • Sinus related headache
alyson stanford physiotherapist resident miller health centre orillia
Written By: Alyson Stanford, PT Resident

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