HeadachesOur Headache and Migraine Treatments
What types of headaches do we treat at New Body — New Mind?
At New Body — New Mind, we successfully treat muscular (tension) headaches, cervicogenic headaches, and TMJ headaches using primarily manual therapy and some physical therapy modalities. Hypnotherapy is also proven to be an effective headache and migraine treatment in patients of all ages. Many of our patients opt to include hypnosis in their headache treatment plan.
Migraine headaches are neurological in nature, so technically they should not respond to the protocols established for treatment of muscular / myofascial headaches. However, many migraine patients also complain of chronic muscle tension in the neck and shoulder region and often have a persistent, low-grade tension headache in addition to episodic migraine attacks. It is our experience that once we successfully treat these patients’ tension headaches, the frequency of their migraine attacks is significantly reduced and migraine attacks become shorter and less intense.
What is our headache treatment protocol?
Tension headaches, most cervicogenic headaches and TMJ headaches are caused by trigger points in chronically tight neck, shoulder and face muscles.
Read more about myofascial trigger points and headache causes.
If tight muscles are the reason that you feel pain, it is logical that the goal of treatment should be the loosening of the involved muscles and release of the myofascial trigger points located in these muscles. Similarly, if the problem originates in the structures of the neck, all structural neck issues will need to be resolved in order to successfully treat your headaches. And this is exactly what we do in the first phase of our headache treatment.
The primary treatment modality in the first phase of our headache protocol is manual therapy. We may use ultrasound to either prepare muscles for manipulation (continuous ultrasound) or to control inflammation and swelling in the tissues and reduce pain (pulsed ultrasound).
Once the head pain is resolved we move to the second, more active phase of headache treatment, during which we teach you what to do on your own to ensure that you will remain headache-free.
What is the second phase of our headache treatment?
The specifics of the second phase of treatment depend on the original cause(s) of your head pain.
For example, if your headaches were caused by muscle tightness resulting from poor posture, we need to teach your body how to assume and maintain optimal posture in upright positions. This requires not only body awareness training, but also strengthening of any weak stabilizing or postural muscles and developing their endurance to maintain the correct posture all the time. Typically, the muscles that need strengthening are core muscles and the muscles between your shoulder-blades, because their weakness causes over-activation of your neck muscles with any functional activities (especially those involving the use of the upper extremities).
If your body tends to tighten up in response to daily stressors, we may need to teach you how to appropriately manage stress and anxiety through the use of self-hypnosis. (If appropriate, hypnotherapy can be added either in the first phase of treatment or once physical treatment is completed.)
During the second stage of our headache treatment protocol, we keep monitoring your symptoms and continue using manual therapy techniques as needed to manage occasional flare-ups.
Throughout the process, you are an active participant in all decisions related to your treatment and we make sure that the plan of care we design together is not only clinically appropriate, but also aligned with your personal preferences. We review your responses to treatment on a regular basis and make adjustments to the plan of care as needed.
The ultimate goal is the complete and permanent resolution of your headaches and any associated symptoms, so that you can return to full function.