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Physical Therapy & Running Tips

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

What Makes A Headache A Migraine?

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When asked, most people express having experienced a headache at some point in their lives. If you are someone who experiences head pain, how do you know what type of headache you have? There are over 150 types of headaches. One of the more common types of headache is called a migraine.

Migraines are a primary form of headache that have special characteristics which distinguish them from other types of head pain. These symptoms include:

  • Pain only on one side of the head
  • Hypersensitivity to light
  • Hypersensitivity to sound
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Pain lasts 4-72 hours
  • Pain that is severe and throbbing in nature

There is a type of migraine called migraine with aura. A migraine with aura includes the symptoms listed above as well as:

  • Visual disturbances (flickering lights or spots, vision loss)
  • Slurred speech
  • Numbness or tingling in the face or head

Migraines are debilitating in nature, resulting in the individual having reduced ability to participate in their normal daily activities. They often confine a person to a quiet, dark room until the symptoms subside.There are steps that you can take to help reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines. The first step is speaking with your physician, who may want to rule out other possible causes for your headaches. Your doctor may recommend either prescription or over the counter medications that can be used to help prevent a migraine from occurring or stop a migraine from getting worse. There are other non-pharmacological interventions you can use to manage migraines as well, such as:

  • Keep a headache diary to help you learn patterns and triggers for your headaches
  • Avoid foods linked to triggering migraines (including cured meats, alcohol, nuts, etc.)
  • Biofeedback
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Massage therapy
  • Physical therapy

The physical therapists at Smith Physical Therapy are trained to help you with the management of your headaches. Call us today for a complimentary injury screen to see if physical therapy would be beneficial for you.


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