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Migraine Management in a Chinook Zone

Headaches in Calgary

It's important to understand that when it comes to managing migraines, it's not just about managing the triggers that we can't control, like the weather. Instead, it's about being proactive and managing the triggers that we can control, such as muscular dysfunction and tension. By decreasing the overall trigger load, we can help prevent the onset of a full-blown migraine.

Physiotherapy and chiropractic care can play a crucial role in preventing or decreasing the severity of migraines. By working with a multidisciplinary team, you can receive a personalized treatment plan that addresses your unique needs and triggers.

One way that physiotherapists can help decrease the overall trigger load is through exercises and manual techniques like soft tissue release. By working on areas of muscular dysfunction and tension, we can help reduce the strain through your neck muscles. Our physiotherapists might use dry needles to release muscles high in the neck that commonly contribute to tension-based migraines. We can also provide guidance on how to improve your posture and ergonomics during your day to help reduce the load on your muscles.

In addition to posture and ergonomic adjustments, there are several lifestyle modifications that can help manage migraine triggers. For example, regular exercise can help reduce stress and tension, promote better sleep, and improve overall health. Mind-body techniques like yoga and tai chi can also help reduce stress and improve relaxation, which can help decrease the occurrence of migraines.

Diet can play a significant role in the occurrence and severity of migraines. For example, some people find that avoiding trigger foods like chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol can help decrease the frequency of migraines. On the other hand, incorporating anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 rich fish can help reduce inflammation and potentially decrease the occurrence of migraines.

Chiropractors can also play a critical role in managing migraines by creating a neurological "reset" through the spine. This can help reduce tension and pressure on the nerves, which can alleviate migraine symptoms and prevent future episodes. By working in conjunction with a physiotherapist, a chiropractor can help address both the muscular and spinal components of migraines.

Depending on the severity and frequency of migraines, medication management may be necessary to help manage symptoms. We'll collaborate with your doctor or pharmacist as necessary to develop a personalized treatment plan that may include over-the-counter or prescription medications, as well as preventative medications to decrease the frequency and severity of migraines.

Massage therapy can also be incorporated into a multidisciplinary approach to managing migraines. By reducing stress levels and releasing undue tension in your neck, shoulders, and chest, massage therapy can help decrease the overall trigger load and may prevent migraines from occurring.

Acupuncture has also been shown to be effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines in some people. 

It's important to note that a multidisciplinary approach to managing migraines doesn't just involve physiotherapy, chiropractic care, and massage therapy. Other steps you can take to manage seasonal migraine triggers include staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, practicing stress-reduction techniques like meditation and deep breathing, and avoiding triggers like certain foods and environmental factors.

In conclusion, managing migraines requires a proactive approach that addresses the triggers we can control, such as muscular dysfunction and tension. By working with a multidisciplinary team of physiotherapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists, you can decrease the overall trigger load and prevent migraines from occurring, leading to improved quality of life.

- Written by Nathan Albinati, PT, MScPT, BSc

Nathan received his Master of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Alberta in 2020. Prior to this he completed his Bachelor of Science (Honors) from Mount Royal University. Nathan is a member of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and registered by the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta in good standing.

He is committed to continued learning and has completed advanced training in Orthopaedic Manual and Manipulative Therapy, Advanced Vestibular Rehabilitation, and Functional Dry Needling (FDN Level 1).

Nathan believes in working with patients to achieve their goals and empowering them to have an active role in their rehabilitation. His approach to treatment is grounded in providing strong, evidence based manual therapy combined with education and individualized exercise prescription. Nathan is thrilled to share his expertise and passion for active rehabilitation with patients of all ages and will ensure each patient has the tools and strategies they need to both recover and prevent recurrent injury.