Migraine Elimination Therapy
Indy Myopain Relief Center treats migraine type headaches using non-invasive and drug-free therapies. These therapies include Trigger Point, Kinetic, Neuromuscular and muscle activation, Myofascial Acoustic Compression, and Extracorporeal Shock Wave therapies. We serve the greater Indianapolis IN community, offering 2 nationally certified trigger point therapists. Let's get a better understanding of how trigger point therapy helps migraines go away.
Migraines usually first begin between the ages of ten and thirty-five and decrease after age fifty. Frequency varies greatly, from infrequent to several times per month. Approximately one in ten people get migraines, and about 75 percent are women (American Medical Association 1989). Some women experience symptoms just before or during their period (menses), indicating a hormonal role. At Indy Myopain Relief Center we have successfully treated an individual that experienced chronic, daily migraine headaches for 15 years! She now has her life back and comes back occasionally for maintenance.
Symptoms of Migraine Headaches
A migraine headache is characterized by throbbing, pounding, or pulsating pain that lasts from hours to several days. Intensity of pain alone is not a symptom of a migraine, since tension headaches can be as or more painful than migraines. Some migraines may be pain free but begin with the visual effects. In some people, the pain may not be pulsating or it may vary in quality. Migraine pain is often only on one side, but it may occur on both sides or move from side to side. Pain can be intensified by movement, coughing, straining, or lowering your head.
Migraines are usually accompanied by one of more of the following symptoms: ...
Migraines may be accompanied by an aura, but more commonly this is not the case. A migraine without an aura (common migraine) may be preceded by mental fuzziness, mood changes, fatigue, and an unusual retention of fluids... Auras may also be non-visual, consisting of dizziness, vertigo, speech or language abnormalities, weakness of movement, or tingling or numbness of the face, tongue, or extremities...
Causes of Migraine Headaches
Though there are theories about the causes of migraines, the mechanism is still unknown. Most studies have attempted to explain migraines in terms of one particular causative factor and have failed to provide an explanation for the complexity of the symptoms and clinical observations. It’s likely that a combination of factors provide input in varying proportional degrees and result in a particular set of symptoms for any type of headache. These input factors are trigger points in muscles, emotional stimuli triggering the limbic system (part of the brain) to increase muscle contractions, and substances such as serotonin, prostaglandins, interleukin 1 and 6, substance P and other neurotransmitters) that affect the blood vessels and other tissues in the brain (vascular system input), causing them to become inflamed and swollen, and result in a headache.
It is theorized that the sum of the vascular system input plus the input from trigger points and emotional stimuli determines whether or not pain is a symptom, and if so, how intense the pain is. This could explain how some people can have trigger points or experience emotional duress without having headaches or migraines, while others get severe headaches. People who tend to have migraines and tension headaches that occur at the same time are likely to have a very strong input from emotional factors, or possibly abuse drugs (Olesen 1991).
Trigger Points and Migraine Headaches
Indy Myopain Relief Center shown through our treatment success, trigger points play a far greater role in the perpetuation of migraines than previously thought. (Calandre, et. al. in 2006 published at study comparing patients at a headache clinic suffering from frequent migraines with both non-clinic subjects with fewer migraine attacks and healthy control subjects who, at most, had infrequent tension headaches. The researchers examined specific muscles for trigger points and found that 93.9 percent of the migraine subjects had trigger points with referred pain patterns that reproduced the their migraine pain and other symptoms. By comparison, only 29 percent of the healthy subjects had pain referred to the same areas, and the pain was not migraine-like in quality. Pressing the trigger points of migraine subjects could reproduce the location of pain, the throbbing quality, light and sound sensitivity, and other symptoms that were common for that person. In 30.6 percent of migraine subjects, pressing muscles with trigger points actually caused a full-blown migraine that required immediate treatment.
The researchers discovered that the longer the history of migraines and the more frequent the attacks, the greater the number of trigger points the person had in their muscles. About 74 percent of the trigger points were found in the masseter and temporalis muscles.
The researchers theorized that the trigger points themselves could be responsible for the changes in the nerves and blood vessels in the brain, rather than the vascular system necessarily being a separate and distinct input system on its own. It is well-known that trigger points can cause symptoms other than referred pain, such as dizziness, vertigo, diarrhea, painful periods, colic, heart palpitations, and other conditions that wouldn't normally be thought of as caused by trigger points in muscles...
So which came first? Did the trigger points in certain muscles lead to the development of migraines and then a self-perpetuating cycle began, or did the migraines come first and lead to development of an increasing number of trigger points? In any case, this discovery is very heartening, as it means treating trigger points can have a significant impact on reducing or eliminating migraines.
Great News: Treating Trigger Points Can Help!
Indy Myopain and other studies have shown that people who have headaches are almost twice as likely as healthy control subjects to have postural abnormalities, including head-forward posture, and to have trigger points in the back of the neck, particularly the suboccipital muscles. Interestingly, people with migraines were shown to have the same prevalence of postural abnormalities and number and location of trigger points as people with tension headaches, even when they tend to have one-sided migraines (Marcus et al. 1999).
People who suffer from both migraines and tension-type headaches are far more likely to have a greater number of active trigger points (Marcus et al. 1999). The greater the number of active trigger points, the more frequent and severe the headaches. With one-sided headaches, a greater number of active trigger points are located on the same side as the headache. Trigger points will be more tender during a headache and will probably be more tender just prior to and immediately after the headache.
This means that the probability of trigger points being part or all of the problem in the majority of headaches is likely to be high, and there are estimates that the majority of headaches are due at least in part to trigger points (Simons, Travell, and Simons 1999). So the great news is that you can probably relieve much or all of your headache pain with a combination of trigger point self-treatments [Chapters 10-18] and identifying and eliminating all the perpetuating factors [Part II] to the extent possible.
Treating Headaches with Trigger Point Therapy
If you have headaches, you are likely to have trigger points in your neck, back, leg, arm and head muscles that, when pressed, will refer pain to the areas where you normally feel your headaches... In all likelihood, trigger points in more than one muscle of the neck and head are causing overlapping referral patterns, so it is important to locate all of the trigger points involved.
Indy Myopain Relief Center believes it is important to treat trigger points when you don’t have a headache, thus preventing their re-occurrence. We really want to see you when you have a headaches so that we can find the cause and eliminate it in the first visit.