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Headache and Migraine Program

My Approach

What our patients say...

Engage PT has gone above and beyond for us post-brain surgery. They have been excellent about tracking progress, communicating with physicians and coaching. They are truly healing professionals!


What is a headache?

Headaches affect 47% of the world's population. They are described by the type and location of pain in the head. Many headaches are harmless and resolve on their own. However, frequent moderate to severe headaches can impact your ability to do daily activities and affect quality of life.  The International Headache Society describes several different categories of headache:

  • Cervicogenic (also called muscle-spasm headaches or neck related).

  • Migraine and cluster.

  • Cranial neuralgias, facial pain, and other headaches.

  • Secondary headaches from an underlying condition, such as fever, infectious disease, sinus disorder, or in rare cases, a tumor or more serious illness.

    • Headaches are a common occurrence in individuals with known neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, or a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury.

    • Individuals who have a known neurological condition should notify their health care provider if headaches occur.

  • Tension.

Most headaches are harmless and resolve on their own, although severe headaches that recur frequently can affect your ability to do your daily activities, and can reduce your quality of life.

There is effective treatment for almost every type of headache. The challenge lies in determining the type of headache, its cause, and in developing an appropriate treatment plan that will reduce both its frequency and intensity. Physical therapists can help determine the type of headache you have, and are experts in managing pain from a variety of sources.

How can therapy help with Migraines?

Migraine headaches can be a severe, disabling condition. 

Migraine is a centrally-mediated pain disorder. This means that there is a disorder in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), involving the nerves and blood vessels, which results in the pain and the neurologic symptoms associated with a migraine headache. 

Headache and migraine treatment often focuses on:

  • Decreasing pain and other symptoms

  • Decreasing medication use

  • Improving function and activity

  • Decreasing headache triggers

  • Improving spinal strength and stability

  • Improving headache self-management skills

Physical and occupational therapy focuses on:

  • Manual therapy, such as myofascial techniques and joint mobilization

  • Strengthening of the deep cervical muscles and scapular stabilization muscles

  • Stretching and range-of-motion exercises

  • Postural and alignment correction

  • Postural restoration techniques and breathing instruction

  • Ergonomics and instruction in optimal positioning for work-related tasks

  • Instruction in optimal positioning for household, self-care and recreational tasks

  • Headache/migraine self-management education


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