Does Physiotherapy Help With Migraines?

Does Physiotherapy Help with Migraines and Migraine Symptoms?

What are migraines?

Migraines are more than just a headache.

They are a complex condition characterised by intense, throbbing head pain which can significantly impact daily life. Through understanding what contributes to their frequency and severity, physiotherapy is an invaluable tool for managing migraine and headache pain.

Migraines can also bring a barrage of additional symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light, and visual disturbances.

While many other types of headaches arise from identifiable sources, the source of a migraine is hard to pinpoint. Even what triggers a migraine can differ significantly from person to person. 

These can include hormonal changes, specific foods, environmental factors, stress, and more. As these are unique to individuals, effective migraine treatment and management requires a personalised approach.

How do physiotherapists treat migraines?

Physio treatment for migraines, while not a direct cure, plays a pivotal role in managing symptoms and identifying triggers. By adopting various approaches, our physiotherapists strive to alleviate tension, enhance well-being, and empower individuals in their journey towards migraine relief.

Manual therapy

Physiotherapists employ manual therapy techniques that focus on the neck and head, aiming to reduce persistent tension. Neck pain in particular can contribute to the severity of a migraine. Through hands-on interventions, our physiotherapists work to ease discomfort and promote relaxation.

Posture and exercises

Our physios provide tailored exercises to strengthen and improve flexibility in the neck and shoulder muscles. Tension held in the neck and shoulders plays a role both as a potential trigger for migraines, and the severity of a migraine. Our targeted approach aims to enhance muscular support, potentially mitigating the frequency and intensity of migraines.

Dry needling

Incorporating dry needling, physiotherapists target trigger points to alleviate muscle tension. This technique has shown promise in reducing discomfort associated with migraines and promoting relaxation.

Remedial massage

Remedial massage can help reduce migraine severity. By alleviating your aches and pains, it reduces stress in the body and improves your quality of sleep.

Exercise training

Physiotherapists guide patients through exercise training that includes stretching, strengthening, and self-distraction techniques. These exercises are tailored to address your unique needs and promote overall well-being.

Lifestyle modifications

Our physio treatments extend to encompass overall wellbeing and quality of life. This emphasises general health, regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and relaxation techniques – all providing a holistic approach to migraine management.


Stress often manifests in the neck and shoulders. Incorporating mindfulness techniques can lead to improvements in reducing the severity of a migraine attack.

Migraine related vertigo treatment

For some individuals, there is a notable relationship between Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) and migraines. Studies suggest there is a significant association between migraines and an increased risk of vertigo. 

It’s essential to recognise that physiotherapy is just one of many available treatment options. Remember, seeking professional advice and taking proactive steps can significantly contribute to your journey toward migraine relief

What causes migraines?

Migraines affect approximately 15% of the population. But even today, the exact root cause of migraines is unclear. Research suggests that both genetic predisposition and underlying conditions such as depression or anxiety may be contributing factors.

That said, being informed about the potential factors influencing and triggering migraines empowers you to take proactive steps. 

How to tell if a migraine is coming?

Understanding the subtle cues that precede a migraine is a crucial aspect of managing this often challenging condition. While these warning signs vary from person to person, there are common indicators to help you identify an oncoming migraine episode.

Feeling unwell the day before a migraine

Some experience a general sense of unwellness a day before the onset of a migraine. With countless reasons for feeling ‘unwell’, this unfortunately is not the most reliable indicator of an oncoming migraine.  

Sensing an ‘aura’

A distinctive prelude to migraines is what is colloquially known as an ‘aura.’ This phenomenon can manifest in various ways, with visual disturbances being most common. Examples include zigzagging lines, unexplained flashing lights, blind spots, or blurry vision.

Auditory issues

For some, auditory disturbances may occur in the lead-up to a migraine. This can range from difficulty hearing a conversation to a persistent ringing in the ears. These auditory cues, although less common, are significant indicators for those who experience them.

What is the Most Common Trigger for Migraines?

It’s worth knowing that not everyone will encounter all of these warning signs. Some people may only experience one of these cues, while others may not experience any warning signs at all.

Likewise, you may experience any number of these warning signs without progressing to a full-blown migraine episode. This highlights the complexity of migraine experiences and the need for individualised approaches to migraine treatment.

Recognising these warning signs and understanding the diverse phases of a migraine can facilitate proactive measures. By acknowledging these cues, you can take timely action, potentially mitigating the severity and duration of the migraine. It’s a valuable tool for regaining a sense of control over one’s well-being.

What is the most common trigger for migraines?

Migraines are triggered by a web of interconnected biological and environmental factors. Therefore identifying the most common trigger for a migraine attack is a difficult task. However, understanding common culprits provides a crucial roadmap for managing and mitigating the impact of migraines.

  • Missing meals or poor diet
  • Certain foods and drinks, such as chocolate, citrus fruits, alcohol, and caffeine
  • Insufficient or excessive sleep
  • Dehydration
  • Sudden weather changes
  • Hormonal changes, in particular hormonal shifts during menstruation or menopause
  • Sensory stimuli including bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells
  • Emotional factors such as periods of intense stress or strong emotional experiences
  • Muscle tension, especially in the neck and shoulders

Some people’s migraines may be caused by multiple of these triggers. Others may have their migraines set off by seemingly nothing at all. Given how varied migraine triggers are, it is challenging to pinpoint a universal cause. City Physio’s treatment for migraines and headaches focuses on addressing muscle tension, joint stiffness and promoting overall well-being, reducing the occurrence of many of these triggers.

City Physio migraine treatment

If you suffer from migraines, take a proactive step towards relief with City Physio. Our dedicated team of physiotherapists offer personalised, hands-on treatment and guidance crafted specifically for you. Don’t let migraines hinder the life you want to lead—book an appointment with City Physio today. Reclaim control, rediscover comfort, and begin your journey towards migraine relief today.

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