Migraine headaches (MH) are a specific type of headache that affect approximately 15% of the world’s population and are caused by environmental and genetic factors. Physicians use a mnemonic system called POUND to differentiate MH from other types of primary headaches:

  • P – Is the headache pulsatile in nature?

  • O – Is the duration between 4-72 hours?

  • U – Is the location unilateral?

  • N – Is there associated nausea or vomiting?

  • D – Is the intensity of the headache disabling?

Treatment and Pain Management

MH can be treated using different clinical pathways. Typically, they are managed with a medication called amitriptyline. However, this drug has its share of side effects. Thus, physicians and their patients may utilize physical therapy for a more holistic treatment approach.

Physical Therapy for MH

Physical therapy can be very effective, particularly in the treatment of cervicogenic headaches which have POUND-like symptoms. A physical therapist will recommend two simple treatments that have been tested in randomized control trials and have received a Level II in evidence ratings(Goncalve, et al.).

  1. Have patient increase water intake by 1.5 liters per day (Spigt, et al.).
  2. Have patient take 2-3 mg of slow release melatonin at night before bed (Lyon, Langer).

If you suffer from MH, let our team at 1 on 1 Physical Therapy in Asheville NC help you on your journey to better health and improved quality of life.

You could also consider your diet because certain foods are known to trigger migraines. References:

  • Goncalve, AL, Martini Ferreira A, Ribeiro RT, et al. Randomized clinical trial comparing melatonin 3 mg, amitriptyline 25 mg and placebo for migraine prevention. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2016; 87:1127- 1132.1

  • Spigt, M. et al. A randomized trial on the effects of regular water intake in patients with recurrent headaches.

  • Lyon, C & Langner, S. Consider melatonin for migraine prevention. The Journal of Family Practice MAY 2017 VOL. 66, NO 5