Migraine Headaches Treatment in Calgary,AB
If you are one of the 5 million Canadians who suffer from painful migraine headaches at least once a week, you are well aware of how inconvenient this condition can be.
While migraine headaches can disrupt your daily activity, they can also be accompanied by other issues such as:
- Neck Pain
- Visual Changes
- Muscle Tension
- Chronic Fatigue
- Chronic Pain Syndromes
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Generalized Full Body Malaise
Women suffer from debilitating migraine and tension headaches three times more than men, with 30% of all women experiencing migraines at some point during their lifetime.
Beyond migraines, tension headaches are even more frequent, with daily tension headaches impacting 3% of the population with women being affected more than men. Tension headaches tend to be accompanied by muscle tension unlike the aura that typically comes with migraines. Nonetheless, there are effective treatments available for both forms of headaches.
Identifying and Dealing with Triggers
One of the good ways to tackle a headache problem is to assess possible triggers. While some people are triggered by tyramine or caffeine in their diet, others have headaches due to excess stress and anxiety, weather changes, bright lights, strong odors, medications, lack of sleep, low blood sugar, or hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle.
You can design a well-rounded headache treatment strategy if you can determine your trigger(s). Some adjustments you could think about implementing are as follows:
- Changing birth control or hormone replacement therapy to lessen the consequences of estrogen imbalance.
- Using sunglasses and limiting your exposure to indirect sunlight
- Following a low-tyramine diet
- Slowly decreasing or eliminating caffeine use
- Avoiding very fragrant products
- Engaging in regular stress-relieving activities throughout the day
- Supplementing your diet with magnesium and vitamin B.
Hypersensitive Nervous System Are Susceptible to Migraine Headaches
While finding a solution to your headache problem may seem like a shot in the dark, we do know that patients with regular headaches tend to have a hyperactive nervous system. This implies that everyday sounds, light, and physical pressures cause an increase in bodily reaction. An increase in sensitivity needs to be dialled down to reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.
Symptoms of a hypersensitive nervous system include
- Frequent nausea
- Overall body aches
- Muscle tension
- Aches and pains in soft tissue all throughout the body.
- Insomnia or trouble falling asleep
- Chronic neck and back pain
Desensitize Your Nervous System to Relieve Migraine Pain
Some medications like Lyrica and Neurontin are frequently prescribed to help relax the nervous system; however, many patients are bothered by the unwanted side effects like mood changes and weight gain.
Thankfully, there are some benefits, non-medical remedies to help desensitize your nervous system. Regular exercise is one of the most effective strategies to reduce anxiety. Recent research indicates that moderate exercise is as effective as taking a daily headache medicine to reduce headache frequency and intensity. It doesn’t have to be an intense or lengthy endeavor but you can start with 10-15 minutes of exercise that makes you sweat. Daily exercise is recommended, but exercising 4-5 days per week will also make a difference.
Also, think about ways for decreasing stress in your life. Improve your work-life balance by not overworking yourself and learning to say no to activities that drain you.
Other simple ways to desensitize the nervous system include:
- using heat
- going to physical therapy to relieve muscular tension
- using neural mobilization procedures to help desensitize the nervous system
To relieve discomfort and de-stress your body, you can also try acupuncture, massage therapy, or dry needling.
Do not put off dealing with your daily or weekly headaches. Instead, take action today to address the possible triggers so you can go back to living the life you want! Talk to your healthcare provider to put together a plan that will work for you!
How can physiothreapy help migraines:
Physiotherapy can help reduce frequency and intensity of migraines. We help you identify your personal triggers by asking a series of questions during the assessment. Triggers vary from person to person. For some triggers can be hormonal, stress, dietary, poor posture, neck tightness, poor eye coordination, environmental such as weather, noise and/or light.
Once your triggers have been identified we work to with you to manage the triggers by making behavioral changes to your day-to-day activities. We often treat poor posture and neck tightness first as this contributes to your migraines and can be triggered by stress. Neck tightness can be a huge trigger especially if you are working on a sitting desk with a computer for prolonged periods of time during your day. Dry needling and acupuncture have been proven to be a very effective way to provide relief from migraines. In some cases, we may need eye exercises (ocular-motor exercise) to help the eye coordination function better. If environmental triggers are your primary triggers, then education regarding how to reduce these triggers such as wearing ear plugs with weather changes or in noisy environments and adjusting with migraine glasses for light sensitivity. These are not necessary with everyone so it’s important to speak with your therapist if it is a concern.
Physiotherapy has helped many manage their migraines and has been proven to be an effective conservative way to managing your migraines and in some cases, we were even able to reduce the medication under the guidance of the physician.