I love the holidays, but sometimes the stress of shopping for the perfect gifts, planning the family get togethers, & scheduling time with friends can give debilitating headaches. The first thing many of us do when we get a migraine or headache is reach for a pill, right? But when before swallowing those Ibuprofen or Advil, we should probably consider that along with the “desired effects” there are also many “side effects”. Below are some drug free tips for you to use at home and other treatments that are not medications.
Physical and massage therapy is normalizing the musculoskeletal system in order to reduce stress and tension on soft tissues and joints. For example, upper the trapezius muscle on the top of the shoulder is frequently problematic in headache patients. This muscle is commonly overused during activities such as computer work, leading to the development of trigger points. Trigger points are focal areas of muscle fiber contracture that, in the case of the upper trapezius, refer pain up the neck and into the temple in the instance described above. For trigger points in the upper trapezius muscle, the therapist would likely work on releasing and stretching the problematic muscle fibers. In addition, posture, alignment, and strength issues would need to be addressed, as faulty mechanics in these areas can contribute to the development of trigger points.
The joints of the upper cervical spine can also be culprits in referring pain into the head. These joints can be injured in an accident, or can develop increasing stiffness and pain gradually over time. The physical therapist’s job is to restore mobility in these joints and correct muscle imbalances, poor posture, and physical activities that contributed to the problem in the first place. Problems with the joints and the muscles often occur together and contribute to one another, thus both must be adequately addressed for effective pain control to result.
Cold Laser Therapy
Cold laser A new Revolutionary Pain Relief device known as the 830Laser is a great help for headache pain. Laser therapy has been successfully used around the world for over 25 years, with no reported long-term or irreversible side effects. This device is providing anti-inflammatory and bio stimulating effects providing fast pain relief.
So How Does it Work? The laser sends light (photons) into your injured tissues and can penetrate two inches without being absorbed by the skin, fat, or blood. No heat is generated so it is pain-free and completely safe for use almost anywhere on the body. Once the photons find the injured tissues, they stimulate and energize the cells to repair and strengthen at a remarkably fast rate!
The 830Laser at Kauai Therapy & Wellness not only helps injured tissues and wounds heal faster, it also makes them stronger and less vulnerable to re-injury. This treatment does NOT wear off like most medicines, electrical stimulation, heat or ice. It increases your body’s own healing power and enhances that process—true healing! If you don’t reinjure the area, the pain shouldn’t return.
Simply changing your lifestyle in a few different areas can help to alleviate migraines or headaches drastically. Here are some ways to do so:
- Control and reduce your stress through mindfulness and breathing exercises.
- Take short power naps to re-charge during a stressful day.
- Avoid “triggers” such as loud sounds, bright lights, and very hot or cold weather.
- Keep your posture neutral to avoid strain on your muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. Try this at work if you sit at a computer all day. Do not hunch over your desk- this will cause tension headaches.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle of exercise and eating clean. Drink plenty of fluids before and after exercise, eat a small snack after, cool down and stretch. Stay hydrated and give your body a day or two of rest in-between workouts!
- Any relaxation method like yoga, meditation, and use of aromatherapy triggers release endorphins (feel-good hormone) and helps relieve muscle tension.
How can Kauai Therapy & Wellness help?
The physical therapists at Kauai Therapy & Wellness are experts in treating musculoskeletal disorders and have skills, knowledge, education and equipment to treat and prevent headaches. We are making a difference by focusing on neck and jaw joints and soft tissues, while addressing issues related to posture, healthy life style, and stress control.
Our comprehensive headache treatment package includes advanced manual skills, trigger point release, joint mobilization and soft tissue release, relaxation exercises, wellness coaching, stretching, massage, cranial sacral massage, and as on add-on cold laser therapy. We teach patients the best way to utilize modalities, stretch and relax and instruct family members in gentle massage techniques or manual cervical traction.