What causes Migraine after Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy has been known to reduce stress on muscles and promote relaxation. During a physiotherapy session, it can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which reduces your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones. However, oftentimes, people complain about migraine after physiotherapy, which may be due to several reasons. 

Physiotherapists use various techniques to manipulate your muscles and soft tissues. Walking out after a session with somewhat tender muscles is not unusual, particularly after a deep tissue treatment.

There is a common assumption that people often believe that physiotherapy causes headaches by flushing toxins from the muscle tissues into the bloodstream.

However, there is no scientific research to support this claim. After a session, people can experience headaches for several reasons that we will discuss in this article. 

Cause of Migraine after Physiotherapy 

Here are numerous possible causes of a headache triggered by a physiotherapy session:

1- Irritants or Sensitivity

You may be sensitive to a product in the physiotherapy clinic or have an allergy to the hospital-grade disinfectant. Such products include cleaning agents, perfume or fragrance, and detergent.

2- Dehydration

Dehydration is a common culprit of causing headaches. Before going to the physiotherapy session, if your baseline hydration is low, this can cause a headache leading to a migraine. Moreover, having your muscles shaped and, in some cases, pressed on deeply can magnify the intensity of the headache. 

3- Too much Pressure

The physiotherapy session may be too much pressure for a particular person’s body. Particularly in a deep tissue session, if the therapist applies too much pressure, it can cause sore muscles, muscle bruising, and increased blood circulation, triggering headaches.

4- Changes in Blood Pressure 

People can experience changes in blood pressure when they stand after being seated or lying down for some time. Orthostatic hypotension, or postural hypotension, is a type of low blood pressure that people may experience in such times, and headache can be one of the common symptoms of hypotension.

Why Pressure Matters?

The physiotherapist targets deep layers of muscle and fascia during a deep tissue physiotherapy session. It often requires a great deal of pressure and can be pretty uncomfortable when your therapist presses hard into areas of tight or knotted muscle. They may use deep strokes or tiny circular motions, causing heat on the surface. 

One small study found that moderate-pressure therapies spurred the parasympathetic nervous system more than low-pressure therapies. Moreover, activating the parasympathetic nervous system can affect blood pressure, causing headaches.

Tips for Preventing Migraine after Physiotherapy

To prevent a headache after your physiotherapy session, you should follow these tips and incorporate them into your daily lifestyle:

  • You should communicate with your physiotherapist about your concerns before starting the therapy.
  • You should speak up during the therapy when you feel any discomfort. For instance, you should give feedback when it is a good amount of pressure and when it is too much for you to endure.
  • You should avoid deep tissue therapies if there is no need for them. 
  • You should be very clear about the level of pressure you can endure, and your therapist should know about it.
  • In the initial stages, you should avoid getting full-body therapy and book one-body part therapy to know how the exercises work for you.
  • You should drink at least eight ounces of water before and after your therapy to avoid any dehydration.
  • You should increase your water intake for two days following therapy to ensure proper hydration.
  • You should not be drinking alcohol the night before and the night of your therapy.
  • You should have a light snack after your therapy.
  • You should ask your therapist to recommend some good post-therapy stretches to get you in a relaxed state afterward. 
  • You should take a lukewarm shower after your therapy. However, everyone is different in their needs. So, you should ask your therapists if you should take warm baths or cold as per your condition. 

Physiotherapy can cause headaches in some people, although the precise causes may vary. It may be connected to the systemic effects of therapy on the nervous or lymphatic systems, and it may also be connected to hydration levels.

Always remember that it is a good idea to drink plenty of fluids before and after a session. If traditional therapies proceed to give you headaches, you should try many other alternatives.

These are some of the causes of migraine after physiotherapy. If you want more details, you can book an appointment with the best physiotherapist in Karachi through Marham. 

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