By Jacqui Mulholland
Headaches and Migraines are a common complex and varied condition that may affect most of us at some point in our lives. The frequency, duration and intensity can vary, as well as the types of symptoms that can indicate whether you are experiencing headaches, or migraines.
I used to be so confused about how to categorise my symptoms as a longtime headache/migraine sufferer. I would go to GP’s explain my symptoms, how they would affect me and the “cycle” with which they seemed to occur. They had a predictable pattern, and symptoms were usually quite similar each time, only varying in intensity and duration. My experience of these symptoms was often quite an unpleasant and fatiguing process. There was not much else offered as pain management at the time from my GP, the suggestions were pain meds, rest and reduce stress. This would leave me feeling a little bit deflated and helpless to do anything to change or at least manage my condition. My headaches were classified as “menstrual migraines” or “hormonal headaches”.
There is a lot of confusion and unknown factors about headaches and migraines, and you wouldn’t be alone in feeling at a loss as to where you can go and the type of treatments that may help you. You should always visit your GP in the event that you suddenly start getting headaches or your headaches are changing. There are many different treatment options now for headache/migraine sufferers that weren’t available 20 years ago so it’s always worth mentioning any new symptoms to your main healthcare provider.
So how do you know the difference between headaches and migraines? Well there are several different types of headaches and “Migraines” are just one of those types. The main difference between migraines and the other types of headaches is they may include some of the following symptoms (but not all)
As you can see these symptoms should not be ignored if you have never had migraines before or if your symptoms intensity or change as this could be an indication of something more serious. Always consult your healthcare provider as a first point of call.
There are other types of headaches that have similar symptoms but are not classified as migraines: some of these you may have heard of: cluster, tension, sinus. These may present a little differently in terms of the location of the pain symptoms, and intensity can vary but don't usually present with the visual disturbances, heightened sensitivity or with nausea & vomiting.
So whilst there is no cure for headaches or migraines, there are treatments and preventative techniques that may help. There can be certain triggers for you that you can help by avoiding. Certain foods, alcohol, getting enough sleep, regular moderate exercise, drinking water etc.
In terms of prevention and management of your symptoms, that’s where remedial massage & myotherapy can be really beneficial. When you're experiencing an episode, you might notice that you will feel like your body needs rest and quiet time to recover. Overstimulation can often exacerbate symptoms. Allowing your nervous system and inner balance a chance to restore and calm down the pain sensitivity can really assist in managing the pain. Regular massage may help reduce the intensity & frequency of your symptoms, address any muscular tightness that may be contributing to sensitivity in the head, jaw, neck, upper back and shoulder areas.
Remedial massage & myotherapy can provide an opportunity for your body to rest and receive nurturing touch, warmth, blood flow and may assist in improving sleep, reducing stress, regulating hormones & nervous system functioning. Your treatment may not get rid of your headache or migraine but it may help reduce the intensity and duration.
I love working to help assist headache & migraine sufferers, because of my personal experience with the condition and knowing that remedial massage and myotherapy has helped me tremendously with the management of my symptoms. I know how good it can feel to receive that attention and touch to calm my hypersensitivity and I often have a really good rest/sleep following the treatment which makes so much difference to my ability to function.
If you are a headache or migraine sufferer, come in for a massage and even consider regular treatments to manage recurring symptoms. This is a condition with complex clinical presentations but a very real pain experience for many people, and I’d love to help you feel and function better with less pain.
I am available to help you on Mondays and Wednesdays 9.45am-2pm, Thursdays 2.45pm-7pm, and every second Saturday 9.30am-2pm. Book in with me or one of our myotherapists via our website: www.simplewellness.com.au/treatments-bookings
I look forward to working with you!
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