Introduction To Migraine Headache Treatment
Pain has been referred to medically as the ‘5th vital sign’,this is an acknowledgement that pain relates to the wellbeing of the whole person. If you are suffering with persistent migraine headaches it is one of the many many indicators that you may need to improve your state of health and wellbeing in one or more areas. A great first step on this path is to seek treatment and advice from practitioners who have some experience and training in the management of migraines.
Migraine Headache Treatment – Our 3 Step Process
Step 1 – Pain Management
The first step towards managing your migraines more effectively is perhaps unsurprisingly finding some pain relief. Some people attend our clinic because they are struggling with a very bad migraine that won’t shift, others because they have just simply had enough of their migraines; in either case our top priority is pain relief. We use combinations of ‘hands on’ treatments like those listed below to try and reduce your pain as quickly as possible.
We are all individuals! There is A LOT of variation when it comes how quickly migraine headaches reduce once they are getting the right treatment. Our standard approach is to try and gain momentum with frequent weekly treatments at first, then gradually taper the frequency as your migraine symptoms reduce.
Step 2 – Lifestyle Adjustments
Work activities, work stations, stress, sleep position, teeth grinding, diet, posture and the way you exercise can all be major ingredients in the migraine headache recipe. In many cases migraines are ‘your body trying to tell you something’.
Our extensive knowledge of how lifestyle factors can impact the likelihood of migraine headaches enables us to offer coaching and feedback on how to make changes that reduce the likelihood of your migraine headaches from returning.
Step 3 – Rehabilitation & Maintenance
If you are completely fed up of having migraines some longer term action may be required to keep them at bay. Rehabilitation and prevention are our favourite topics. Migraines can be influenced by chronic postural issues, chronic stress related movement patterns or old injuries, there may be exercises that you need to do to resolve these.
Some exercises for migraine headaches are those that stretch and mobilise tension and scar tissue in the neck and jaw. Some people have a need for exercises that ‘teach ‘them how not to clench their neck and jaw when they are stressed. A percentage of migraine sufferers also require exercises to strengthen their postural muscles.
Migraine Headache Treatments
Acupuncture For Migraine
Acupuncture can be used to relieve and ease migraine headaches many cases. Literally millions of people have reported success with this approach to treating their migraines.
The aim behind acupuncture as a treatment for migraine is to reduce muscle spasm, increase blood flow and create a more harmonious exchange of information between the liver region and the neck region.
Trigger Point Therapy For Migraine
The painful points that you feel in certain points with deep tissue massage are called ‘myofascial trigger points’. These painful points of tension and disturbance in the muscles can cause a great deal of pain.
Trigger points in the neck and jaw are a major factor in many cases of migraine. Releasing these points not only brings relief for many patients, often the migraine can be felt to increase or ‘come on’ as they are worked upon.
Scar Tissue Release For Migraine
A percentage of migraines relate to unresolved whiplash and sport type injuries to the neck and jaw. Many of the ‘old wounds’ we carry around have not been fully rehabilitated, as a society we are not that great at rehab.
Along with muscle wasting many of us develop tracts of scar tissue after an injury that can cause us problems in the long term. Using safe non-invasive scraping techniques and specific stretches scar tissue and be broken down and re-modelled.
Spinal Manipulation For Migraine
The small joints in the upper part of your neck are called ‘facet joints’. Facet joints are knuckle sized cartilage joints that are richly innervated with sensory nerve endings and can be major pain generators if they aren’t happy.
Releasing and mobilising stiff inflamed spinal joints can be a huge helot many migraine sufferers. If you suffer from migraines and periodic feeling of tension or discomfort in your neck you may be in need of spinal manipulation to free the joints.
Jaw Mobilisation For Migraine
Many of us hold untold tension in our jaws without even realising. If you have been told you grind your teeth at night it means you are a particularly extreme case.
Jaw clenching over time can lead to a build up of stiffness and inflammation in the temperomandibular joint which is the ‘hinge’. Mobilising the joint if it has built up stiffness and stress can be of great benefit to migraine sufferers.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Migraine
Migraines have a significant emotional component in many cases. A significant percentage of migraine sufferers for example are people who struggle to express frustration/anger and tend to let those feelings build up.
We don’t do this kind of therapy at Featherston Street Pain Clinic but consider ourselves to be excellent at identifying whether you might benefit from an increase in emotional resilience in the longer term. In these instances we make gentle recommendations and can make referrals.
Exercise Prescription For Migraines
There are a range of exercise types that you may find that you need in order to get good longer term outcomes for your migraine issues. At Featherston Street Pain Clinic we aim to cover all bases when it comes to exercise prescription, this is because peoples needs vary greatly.
Some migraine sufferers benefit from learning exercises that deeply stretch the soft tissues in the upper neck. Some migraine sufferers need exercises to help them learn to stop clenching the muscles in their neck and jaw when they are stressed. Some migraine sufferers benefit greatly in the longer term from strength based postural exercises.
Percussion Massage For Migraine
The release of chronically tight muscles is in some ways like the topic of exercise prescription, there are general rules of engagement but ultimately we all have our own unique requirements.
A percentage of migraine sufferers find that the only way to release the muscle spasm in their neck/shoulders/jaw is with deep vibration. At Featherston Street Pain Clinic we use hand held mechanical massage devices to assist with the release of muscle spasm for that need this kind of technique in order to progress with their migraine treatment.