Migraine Treatment Experiences: Physical Therapy

There are lots of Migraineurs who don't like to take medications for various reasons and some are quite adamant about it. Complementary therapies such as biofeedback, aromatherapy, crystal therapy, acupuncture, and physical therapy (PT) are a few of these methods that can be employed to help treat Migraine disease. Personally I've tried some of these methods with limited success.

My first foray into PT and there have been many, was about a year or so after I fell. My primary care physician suggested it to help increase my range of motion in my neck and possibly relieve some of the daily pain I was having. At my first appointment after I completed a mound of paperwork, and my history was taken, the therapist evaluated me. He explained he wanted to see how far I could bend, stretch and rotate my neck. He checked my balance, posture, and gait - all while taking copious notes. As I struggled to move my head and neck, he could see that there were issues, and then it was time to set up a plan of action.

The PT explained which exercises he wanted me to do and how each of them were to become part of my daily routine. He encouraged me to stop if I had additional pain when I was working on these tasks, but he was clear on what type and how many exercise I should do. Before we finished my appointment, he watched me go over my "homework" making sure I didn't have any questions and then said he would like to see me twice a week for a while.

As I did the range of motion exercises for my neck and upper back/shoulders - there was a lot of crunching and crackling going on. At the start of each exercise, I felt more pain, but it seemed to ease up the more I did them. After a few days I was back at the PT's office for my scheduled visit. Before I started any exercises, an assistant placed a warm, thermal type of pack on my upper shoulders for about five minutes - which felt fabulous. The PT then came into the room and re-evaluated me. He didn't see any monumental changes, but that was too be expected after only a few days. We went over the exercises again, and then I was introduced into the main floor area where other PT patients working diligently on their exercises. This was where I would be from now on to do my own thing, under the watchful eyes of the staff.

A few more days went by and I returned to PT. At each visit I completed my prescribed exercises and it wasn't until after a few weeks that new exercises were given to me. I worked hard on my daily routine and continued to do so for the next six to eight weeks, and then I was re-evaluated. The physical therapist said could see that my range of motion had increased a bit, but we were both disappointed the pain was still there. At this point, the PT felt he had nothing left to offer me, and suggested I look into cranial sacral manipulation. To say the least, I left his office feeling very deflated.

I had hoped beyond hope that PT would be the answer I was looking for to relieve my pain. It didn't, but I was determined not to give up. So next up - cranial sacral manipulation.

The purpose of the Treatment Series is to share personal experiences with migraine management techniques. Do not start, stop or change any treatment program without the advice of a qualified healthcare professional. For clinical data and safety information, please visit our Migraine Treatment pages.

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