How To Treat Migraine Headaches With Physical Therapy?
How To Treat Migraine Headaches With Physical Therapy?
If you are dealing with migraine headaches, then physical therapy is the best treatment approach that you can try out. It is found effective in improving your mobility, decreasing your pain, and managing future incidents of headache pain.

How To Treat Migraine Headaches With Physical Therapy?

In some cases, your migraine headache can result from your cervical spine or neck. It is referred to as cervicogenic headache. 

Your physical therapist will focus on accessing your spine and provide the best treatment that aids in decreasing your pain and improving your mobility. 

Cervicogenic Migraine Symptoms

Symptoms of cervicogenic migraine headache include the following:

  • Vertigo or dizziness

  • Sensitivity to sound or light

  • Nausea

  • Pain in the back portion of your head which radiates to one shoulder

  • Pain on both sides of the back of your head

  • Pain in one side of your cheek or face

  • Reduced range of motion, specifically in your neck

  • Pain on one side of your upper neck which radiates to your eye, forehead, or temple

If you are experiencing headaches and suspect you are suffering from cervicogenic headaches, you should check with your physician. 


They will assess your condition, and if required, they will recommend you visit a physical therapy clinic for headache relief


Now, we will talk about the importance of physical therapy in treating this condition. Let’s get started with our discussion. 

Physical Therapy And Migraine Headaches 

Whenever you visit a physical therapist for headaches, they will first thoroughly examine your condition. They will ask you specific questions related to the onset of your pain, medications tried, symptom behavior, and so on. 


They will also ask you about any prior treatments you have tried for your pain and review your past surgical and medical history. After evaluating your condition, they will use some of the best physical therapy treatment approaches for relief. It includes:

  • Exercise

It is an integral tool with the help of which you would be able to deal with migraines and cervical headaches. 

Exercise works by decreasing pressure on your cervical nerves and improving your neck motion. Some of the best exercises meant for treating this condition are:

  • Cervical rotation

  • Cervical side bending

  • Cervical flexion

  • Cervical retraction

One of the essential things to keep in mind while performing these exercises is that you should necessarily avoid jerky or sudden movements. It is because sudden movements can even worsen your condition. 

  • Postural Correction

Forward head posture can be a significant reason behind headaches. If your headache problem is due to this posture, your main goal should be to correct your posture. Otherwise, you would not be able to get the relief that you are looking for.


So, correcting your posture can be an effective treatment strategy. Some of the best physical therapy approaches for this include:

  • Making use of lumbar roll at the time of sitting

  • Performing the slouch-overcorrect exercise to find a correct posture

  • Making use of a supportive neck pillow at the time of sleeping

  • Using kinesiology taping for effectively improving your overall postural awareness. This taping technique works by increasing the tactile awareness of your neck and back position. 

  • Ice Or Heat

Your physical therapist will apply ice or heat to your skull and neck, which helps in decreasing inflammation or pain. 


Heat works by relaxing tight muscles. It also helps to improve local circulation effectively. So, it can prove to be very effective before you perform your neck stretches. 

  • Massage

If you are experiencing headaches due to tight muscles, then it can effectively limit your neck movement. 


In this case, you would be able to get relief with the help of massage therapy. Your physical therapist will carry out this to improve your mobility. 


They may again perform a specialized technique known as suboccipital release to loosen the muscles that attach your skull to your neck. It aids in decreased nerve irritation and improved motion. 

  • Vestibular Therapy

Cervicogenic migraines can even cause dizziness or vertigo. If you are dealing with the same, then you can significantly benefit from vestibular therapy. 


This specialized form of rehabilitation involves performing specific head, neck, and gaze stabilization exercises. All of these help in improving the functioning of your vestibular system. 

  • Traction

To reduce pain originating from cervicogenic headaches, your physical therapist may use manual or mechanical traction. Traction helps to decompress the discs of your neck and joints. 


In this way, it aids in improved neck motion. Your therapist may again perform joint mobilizations to manage your pain and improve the movement of your neck. 

  • Electrical Stimulation

Your therapist may use electrical stimulation such as TENS or transcutaneous neuromuscular electrical stimulation on your neck muscles. 


This particular treatment approach aids in improving the symptoms of your headache and effectively reduces pain.