Tara Kachroo

Eye have a migraine: eye movement rehab can create migraine relief

Eye have a migraine: eye movement rehab can create migraine relief

Migraines are associated with Eye pain

Migraine headaches are associated with eye pain and light sensitivity. A sub-type of migraine is an ocular migraine, which presents with visual symptoms. Ocular migraines are further divided into migraines with auras and retinal migraines. An aura may occur in up to a third of patients with migraines, but photophobia and light sensitivity are much more prevalent; occasionally even between migraine attacks. Many people also report blurred vision with migraines.

Inability to dissociate eye movements from neck movements contributes to migraines

I had an online consultation with a client who suffers from debilitating migraines 6-8 days of every month. She had suffered migraines for over a decade. After reading some of my Instagram posts about concussions, she reached out to me hoping for some migraine relief.

When we were doing the cervical movement exam I noticed a lag in the movement of her eyes to the right. When she turned her head to the right her eyes didn’t lead, they followed. This was strange. We skipped straight to an eye movement exam — which, by the way, is challenging but not impossible to perform on yourself.

The exam gave me enough information to go on. There were movements that this client could not perform with her eyes alone. Her neck was doing the movements for her. When I asked her to look up right she wouldn’t even notice that she had moved her whole body so her eyes actually stayed around the midline. The ability to dissociate eye movements from neck and intrinsic core movements is critical for functional and easeful movement through the whole body. Eyes that can’t dissociate from neck and midline movements are associated with a rigid neck, and stiffness through one or more areas of the midline – often presenting as back pain.

Eye movement rehab leads to migraine relief

I had the client examine her own eye muscles and then perform several exercises. After a few minutes, she reported a significant change in the tension in her face! She was easily able to perform the eye movements she had previously been unable to do. We both felt optimistic about these results. I gave her some daily exercises and told her to contact me after doing them for a while. I heard back from her after 12 days. She hadn’t had a migraine since her appointment, and couldn’t believe how different the area around her eyes felt. She isn’t alone; many of my migraine clients have reduced intensity, frequency and duration of migraines just from eye movement rehab. If you suffer migraines try doing a self-diagnostic to see how challenging eye movements are for you.