Each September, The Migraine Trust dedicate a week to raise general awareness of migraine as a serious public health issue and to reduce stigma.
Migraine is the third most common disease in the world, with an estimated global prevalence of one in seven people. Despite being recognised as one of the most disabling lifetime conditions, awareness and understanding is low. Migraine is a severe and painful long-term health condition that one in seven people live with. That’s ten million people in the UK alone.
New research by The Migraine Trust has found that there are low levels of awareness amongst the public of what migraine is, so during Migraine Awareness Week (5-11 September), they are aiming to raise awareness of migraine and healthcare.
People with the condition have migraine attacks which usually last for between four hours and three days. Symptoms of these can include head pain, problems with your sight such as seeing flashing lights, being very sensitive to light, sounds and smells, fatigue, feeling sick and being sick. Different people get different symptoms.
When you have a migraine attack, you may not be able to function normally. This has very serious consequences for many parts of a person’s life, from their working to family life.
A new survey by The Migraine Trust has found that a third of people with migraine said that it negatively affected their mental health, while over a quarter said that their migraine negatively affected their working life.
This is made harder by widespread lack of awareness of what migraine is. It is therefore crucial that there is increased understanding of migraine
How Physiotherapy can help people with migraine
Headaches and migraines can have many different causes. You can read more about some of the common types on a previous blog.
Physiotherapy techniques can be very effective at successfully relieving and preventing headaches and migraines. One such technique we use at goPhysio is acupuncture.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Acupuncture works as preventative method for treating headaches and migraines – it works to resolve the cause of the issue by addressing imbalances and then continues to maintain that equilibrium to prevent any further re-occurrence of migraines.
Migraines often have a systemic cause involving reduced or compromised blood supply to the brain – TCM Acupuncture aims to improve the blood supply and circulation to help reduce the symptoms of a migraine.
It can also help with the following:
- Pain relief – by stimulating nerves located in the surrounding muscles, neuro-chemicals are released that alter how the brain processes pain signals.
- Reducing inflammation – by promoting the release of vascular and immune system altering factors.
- Regulating extra- and intra-cranial blood flow.
- Reducing the degree of cortical spreading depression, which is an electrical wave in the brain common in migraines.
- Affecting the serotonin levels within the brain, which can halt an acute migraine attack
At goPhysio, we will use an integrated approach to help you manage your migraines. We will look at all the factors involved and tend to use acupuncture as a part of your treatment programme, which may also include:
- Exercises to address muscle strength, flexibility and stability around the neck and back areas if this is contributing to your migraines
- Education and advice to address any lifestyle factors or habits
- Addressing any other areas that may be contributing to your problems, commonly neck, thoracic spine or shoulder regions