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Headaches and Migraines - Pulse Physiotherapy and Pilates

What is Headache?

Headache is pain or discomfort in the head, scalp or neck, usually associated with muscle stiffness in those areas. It may or may not be accompanied by dizziness. The dizziness can come alone as well and be caused by the same reasons as the tension headache, but without the accompaniment of pain.

Tension Headache: Causes

Tension headaches are one of the most common forms of headaches. They can occur at any age but are more common in adults and teenagers.

If a headache occurs two or more times a week for several months or more, the condition is considered chronic. Chronic daily headaches may result from treatment over poor or excessive treatment of a primary headache. Bounce headaches are headaches that keep coming back. They can occur if there is an abuse of the painkillers taken.

The tension in the head occurs when the muscles of the neck and scalp become tense or contracted. Muscle contractions can be a response to stress, depression, a head injury and / or anxiety.

Any activity that causes the head to remain in a position for a long time without moving can cause a headache. Such activities include typing or other work on the computer, delicate work with the hands and using a microscope. Sleeping in a cold room or sleeping with the neck in an abnormal position can also trigger a tension headache.

Other triggering factors for tension headaches are:

  • Alcohol use

  • Caffeine (in excess)

  • Colds, flu, or a sinusitis-like infection

  • Dental problems such as tightening the jaw or braces adjustments

  • Vision tiredness / forcing

  • Excessive smoking

  • Fatigue or exertion

The headache can be described as:

  • Feeling of pressure, not pulsating

  • A tight band of pain in the head

  • In the whole head (and not only in a point or a side)

  • Worse on the scalp, temples, or back of the neck, and possibly on the shoulders

  • It may or may not be accompanied by dizziness. Dizziness, by itself, can also come unaccompanied by pain, but it is caused by the same tension in the muscles

  • Pain can occur as an isolated event, constantly, or daily. The pain can last from 30 minutes to 7 days. It can be triggered by or worsen with stress, fatigue, noise or brightness of artificial or natural light

  • There may be difficulty sleeping. Tension headache usually does not cause vomiting and nausea

What is Migraines?

Migraines are headaches that typically last from 4-72 hours and you may experience nausea and vomiting as well as sensitivity to light or sound. Migraine sufferers frequently report throbbing pain that worsens with normal activity.

Migraines are associated with auras in some people. Auras are warning symptoms that may occur before you experience a migraine. These warning symptoms usually consist of visual disturbances such as flashing lights, or changes in smell or perception.

The general symptoms of migraines include:

  • a headache that lasts anything from four up to 72 hours

  • pulsating or throbbing pain, often just on one side of your head

  • a headache that gets worse when you’re active or stops you from being active

  • feeling sick or vomiting

  • increased sensitivity to light and noise.

At Pulse Physiotherapy and Pilates we recommend Physiotherapy, Massage or even Pilates to treat or manage the headaches or migraines episode. We will assess each case and do a plan together with our professional team.

  • Physiotherapy can help release the tight muscles with stretches, manual release, dry needling and taping. Also combined with the GPR technique to improve posture to eliminate the cause of the problem and not only manage the pain.

  • Pilates also can help strengthening the muscles for a better posture and stretch tight muscles.

  • Massage promotes circulation: Massage can increase blood flow in areas that might be ischemic (lacking blood flow) and therefore help relieve pain.

  • Massage decreases pain from Trigger Points: Trigger Points are areas of hyper-irritable tissue that are very tender and also can refer pain to other areas of the body. Trigger Point Therapy or Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) can help decrease the pain and referrals into the neck and head.

  • Massage relieves muscle spasms/tension: Massage can help loosen chronically tight muscles and taught bands of tissue. This helps with muscle balance and neck alignment. Also, loosening the muscles that attach to the base of the skull (sub-occipitals) can relieve the tension headaches that travel up the back of the head and into the eye and the ‘vice-like’ constricting headaches so many people suffer from.

Do not hesitate to contact us to book an assessment.

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