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Can exercise help reduce migraines?

Posted on 3rd Sep 2018 by

Migraines are very common and research suggests that 3,000 migraine attacks occur every day for Exercise migraine goPhysioeach million of the general population. This equates to over 190,000 migraine attacks every day in the UK.

More than three quarters of migraineurs experience at least one attack each month, and more than half experience severe impairment during attacks

The cause for Migraines is not yet clear, it is thought there may be a link to genetics. Migraine is ranked globally as the seventh most disabling disease among all diseases (responsible for 2.9% of all years of life lost to disability (YLDs) and the leading cause of disability among all neurological disorders.

Some of the most common symptoms alongside headache are nausea, photophobia (sensitivity to light) and disability.

Recently, data from the research has been suggesting that moderate regular exercise can be an effective way to reduce the frequency of the attacks.

One of the reasons why it is thought that exercise may help sufferers of migraine, is because exercise stimulates your body to release natural pain controlling chemicals called endorphins and natural anti-depressant chemicals called enkephalins. Engaging in a well-planned, regular exercise program could help you to reduce your migraine medication needs, particularly medication taken daily to prevent migraine.

Krøll et all (2018) concluded that aerobic exercise consisting of bike/cross-trainer/brisk walking for 45 minutes, three times/week significantly reduced the impact of tension-type headache and neck pain. It helped reducing migraine frequency, pain intensity and duration.

Migraines are a very complex subject that requires a multifactorial approach in order to understand what is triggering the symptoms, how the symptoms behave and what’s the best treatment to reduce them/prevent them from happening. Exercise for some people can be a trigger for migraines, so embark on any new routes gradually and carefully. Read more about this here.

If you’d like some support in starting exercise or increasing your exercise levels, do get in touch. We offer a range of ways to support and help you on your journey.

References

Lotte Skytte Krøllet all (2018) – Theeffects of aerobic exercise for persons with migraine and co-existing tension-type headache and neck pain. A randomized, controlled, clinical trial

H. Hanssenet all (2017) – Effects of different endurance exercise modalities on migraine days and cerebrovascular health in episodic migraineurs: A randomized controlled trial

 

 

 

 

 


Migraine Awareness Week

Posted on 1st Sep 2018 by

Migraine Awareness Week 2018

Each September, The Migraine Trust dedicate a week to raise general awareness of migraine as a serious public health issue and to reduce stigma.

Migraine is the third most common disease in the world, with an estimated global prevalence of one in seven people. Despite being recognised as one of the most disabling lifetime conditions, awareness and understanding is low.

This year, Migraine Awareness Week is focusing on the impact of migraine in the workplace. 

Being mindful of migraines means that employers should try:

  • to be aware of the high numbers of people who get migraine, that it is very common and that there is a strong possibility that someone they employ might get migraine.
  • to have an understanding that it is a complex neurological condition and that people can experience migraine very differently.
  • to make reasonable adjustments once they become aware that they have an employee who gets migraine, such as considering flexible working practices and looking at how their physical environment can be adjusted to help prevent the triggering of a migraine.

Workplaces being mindful of migraine won’t mean that people with migraine never struggle at work again or that they won’t encounter issues at work because of migraine, but we believe it is an important step in helping people work with migraine.

How Physiotherapy can help people with migraine

Headaches and migraines can have many different causes. You can read more about some of the common types on a previous blog.

Physiotherapy techniques can be very effective at successfully relieving and preventing headaches and migraines. One such technique we use at goPhysio is acupuncture.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Acupuncture works as preventative method for treating headaches and migraines – it works to resolve the cause of the issue by addressing imbalances and then continues to maintain that equilibrium to prevent any further re-occurrence of migraines.

Migraines often have a systemic cause involving reduced or compromised blood supply to the brain – TCM Acupuncture aims to improve the blood supply and circulation to help reduce the symptoms of a migraine.

It can also help with the following:

  • Pain relief – by stimulating nerves located in the surrounding muscles, neuro-chemicals are released that alter how the brain processes pain signals.
  • Reducing inflammation – by promoting the release of vascular and immune system altering factors.
  • Regulating extra- and intra-cranial blood flow.
  • Reducing the degree of cortical spreading depression, which is an electrical wave in the brain common in migraines.
  • Affecting the serotonin levels within the brain, which can halt an acute migraine attack

Read more about the evidence and safety of using acupuncture to treat migraines.

At goPhysio, we will use an integrated approach to help you manage your migraines. We will look at all the factors involved and tend to use acupuncture as a part of your treatment programme, which may also include:

  • Exercises to address muscle strength, flexibility and stability around the neck and back areas if this is contributing to your migraines
  • Education and advice to address any lifestyle factors or habits
  • Addressing any other areas that may be contributing to your problems, commonly neck, thoracic spine or shoulder regions

Read more

Tension headaches

Cervicogenic headaches

The prevalence of headaches

The impact of migraine to the economy

#letsbeatmigraine #migraineawarenessweek

Migraine Awareness Week 2018

Migraine Awareness Week 2018

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goPhysio FAQs: What conditions can you help?

Posted on 31st Aug 2018 by

goPhysio FAQHere at goPhysio we understand that choosing to see a someone if you’re injured or in pain may be a bit daunting? Lots of questions may go through your mind before you decide to make an appointment……….“What will they ask me? Will it hurt? Will I have to get undressed? How do I know it’s going to help?”

We aim to provide a very caring, comfortable and professional environment for you to come and get your problem resolved.

To help answer some of the thoughts you may have if you’re unsure about picking up the phone to make an appointment, we’d like to address some of the questions you may want to ask.


What conditions can you help?

As Physiotherapists and Sports Therapists at goPhysio, our  specialist area of expertise is in assessing, diagnosing and resolving musculoskeletal issues. Musculo = muscles, Skeletal = skeleton (bones, joints, nerves, ligaments, tendons). So, most conditions affecting those areas, we can help.

Here’s a (not exhaustive) list of some of the most common conditions we help resolve here at goPhysio in Chandlers Ford.

Back

Neck

Hip Problems

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hip impingement
  • Gilmore’s groin
  • Groin strain
  • Total hip replacement
  • ITB issues
  • Piriformis syndrome

Knee Problems

  • Anterior knee pain
  • Ligament injuries (Anterior, posterior, medial & lateral cruciate ligaments)
  • Cartilage (meniscus) injuries
  • Hamstring strain
  • Runners knee
  • Muscle strain or tear (quadriceps, hamstrings)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osgoods Schlatters 
  • ITB syndrome

Ankle & Foot

Shoulder

Elbow, Wrist & Hand

And not forgetting……..

If you are suffering with an injury and want help to guide you through the frustrating maze, please get in touch. We aim to offer you an appointment within 24 hours, often the same day.

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Technology Pains

Posted on 23rd Dec 2016 by

With consumers set to shell out billions of pounds on gadgets such as smart phones, tablets and games consoles this this Christmas, how do you make sure your gift doesn’t turn into a pain in the neck?

Technology has revolutionised every aspect of modern life from how we communicate to how we do our shopping. However recent research has suggested we now spend as long as 5-8hours a day on our smart phones and tablets! These devices are designed mainly with portability in mind so many of us will be familiar with the stiff thumbs from tapping away on games consoles, the burning neck pain from looking down at your ipad for a couple hours and the achy back from curling up on your sofa with your laptop on your knees.

Here our top 3 tips to avoid these pains

  1. Limit technology time – set some simple boundaries like no gadgets at the dining table, switching off an hour before bed or no more than an hour at a time in front of a screen. Think about what you’re actually going online for – to complete a certain task or just as a distraction?
  2. Think about your posture – your head is the heaviest part of your body so looking down at a tablet for hours on end is sure to give you a sore neck. Instead try a laptop or tablet stand, ideally with an external keyboard to bring your screen up to eye level. For smart phones straighten your back and hold the phone higher.
  3. Stretch out after use – if you’ve over done it stretch out your neck muscles by gently rotating your head left and right and tilting it side to side several times, roll your shoulders and rotate your trunk left and right too. Use a heat pack or microwavable wheat bag to ease the tension and pain.

technology pain


Tension Headaches: Causes & Solutions

Posted on 14th Nov 2016 by

A tension headache is the most common type of primary chronic headache, affecting around 3% of the general population and accounting for 40% of headaches seen within a specialist Tension Headaches Physiotherapyheadache clinic.

They are more common in young adults but can occur at any age. They are often linked to periods of high stress or emotional distress.

A tension headache will often affect both sides of the head, with a tight band or vice like grip around the forehead. They can last from 30 minutes to several days, but on average will last 4-6 hours.

There tends to be a strong association with poor posture and often trigger points within the head and neck muscles will either cause or contribute to this type of headache.

There are a number of causes for developing tension headaches:

  • Stress
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Poor posture
  • Irregular meal times
  • Eyestrain
  • Teeth clenching/grinding (also known as Bruxism)
  • Prolonged uncomfortable positions

Tension headaches can be classified as either:

  • Episodic – fewer than 15 days within a month
  • Chronic – over 15 days a month for over 6 months

How we can help you

Our speciality is working with muscles. Given that tension headaches are caused by the muscles around you neck area, seeking help at goPhysio for these types of headaches can be very effective. We would start by thoroughly examining the neck region to find out exactly what may be causing your headaches. We will then put together an active treatment plan which may include:

  • Postural rehabilitation and education
  • Strengthening any weak muscles in the neck & upper back
  • Using hands on techniques to ease any trigger points or tight muscles
  • Mobilising stiff or sore joints

Through working with you, we will aim to ease any immediate issues that are causing you pain or distress but more importantly arm you with the tools to help stop these types of headaches being a frequent part of your life.

Some people find a regular, deep, soft tissue massage with one of our professional massage practitioners can be a highly effective way to keep headaches at bay. Surprisingly, doing regular postural exercises, such as Pilates, can also be of great benefit. These exercises will help you focus on strengthening key areas and postural muscles, which longer term can help reduce the build up of unnecessary tension.

If you suffer with the distress of regular headaches and think they may be tension headaches, get in touch. We’ll be able to carry out a full assessment to find out what issues may be causing your headaches.


Cervicogenic Headaches: Causes & Solutions

Posted on 12th Nov 2016 by

Cervicogenic headaches are the most common secondary type of headaches and are defined as a

“referred pain perceived in any region of the head caused by a primary source in the musculoskeletal tissues innervated by cervical nerves”

In more simple terms, these headaches are caused by a problem within the neck area (or cervicogenic area) hence the name.

This source of pain can be any structure in the neck/head area, including:

  • Cervical joints (the little joints in the neck)
  • Ligaments
  • Muscles
  • Discs

Cervicogenic headaches affect 1-2% of the general population and account for 15-20% of headaches seen within a specialist headache clinic. They tend to affect middle aged people more often, but can occur at any age. They are 4 times more common in women than men.

The pain can either be a dull ache or a more piercing pain, deep within the neck and head. It will often start at the base of the skull and radiate up over the top of the head. This headache can last from a few hours to several days. In some more severe cases, it can be a constant unremitting pain.

They tend to be aggravated by:

  • Neck movements
  • Awkward head positions
  • Sustained postures e.g. sitting at a computer for a long time

Cervicogenic headaches are a common symptom of neck trauma – around 60% of whiplash cases will report cervicogenic headaches.

They are also often associated with additional symptoms:

  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Light or sound sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Referred shoulder & arm pain and even face pain

How we can help

Our speciality is working with joints, bones and muscles. Given that cervicogenic headaches are caused by exactly these structure, seeking help at goPhysio for these types of headaches can be very effective. We would start by thoroughly examining the neck region to find out exactly what may be causing your headaches. We will then put together an active treatment plan which may include:

  • Postural rehabilitation and education
  • Strengthening any weak muscles in the neck & upper back
  • Using hands on techniques to ease any trigger points or tight muscles
  • Mobilising stiff or sore joints

Through working with you, we will aim to ease any immediate issues that are causing you pain or distress but more importantly arm you with the tools to help stop these types of headaches being a frequent part of your life.

Some people find a regular, deep, soft tissue massage with one of our professional massage practitioners can be a highly effective way to keep headaches at bay.

 


The Prevalence of Headaches: Types and Causes

Posted on 10th Nov 2016 by

We often get patients coming into the clinic suffering with headaches. In this blog, we will look at the prevalence of headaches – what causes them, how they are classified and then will prevalence of headacheslook at some of the more common types of headaches in more detail and how Physiotherapy can help with managing and resolving these.

Most of us have experienced a headache previously – the World Health Organisation has reported that:

  • 75% of adults aged 18-65 have experienced a headache in the last year
  • 47% of adults have experienced an episode of headache disorder – recurrent or prolonged headaches – in the last year
  • Around 30% of adults reported suffering from a migraine in the last year
  • Around 4% of adults report having a headache for over 15 days each month, known as Chronic Daily Headaches

These figures show us that headache disorder is a worldwide issue and they are ranked as the 3rd highest cause of ‘years lost due to disability’. Migraine on its own is the 6th highest cause. Headaches tends to affect women more than men – for example, for every one male reporting Chronic Daily Headaches, three women will be affected.

Headaches can be triggered by a number of factors:

  • Mechanical issues – poor posture, neck position, working habits
  • Hormones – likely why more women report headaches than men
  • Stress levels
  • Medication induced – known as ‘medication overuse’
  • Teeth grinding
  • External factors – smell, bright lights, pressure and humidity

Headaches can also be classified into either primary or secondary.

  • Primary headaches are benign, often recurrent but are not caused by an underlying disease or structural problem. Tension type headaches are the most common type of primary headaches.
  • Secondary headaches are a result of an underlying disease or structural issue, such as infection, head injury, vascular problems or spinal issue. Cervicogenic (neck based) headaches are the most common type of secondary headaches.

Both tension type and cervicogenic headaches are types of mechanical headaches and can be helped greatly with Physiotherapy intervention.

If you suffer with headaches and would like help in tackling them, give us a call on 023 8025 3317 and find out if we can help.