Footballer’s Migraine: What It Is And How To Deal With It

The term ‘Footballer’s Migraine’ has been around for about a decade, but very little is concretely understood about it. Loosely described as something similar to a cluster headache, Footballer’s Migraines are brought on by repeated blows to the head, whether by contact with the ball or other collisions over the course of play. While a great deal of attention is devoted to minimizing, and preventing where possible, the physical risks of the sport (and rightly so), less is devoted to the dangers of Footballer’s Migraine – despite the fact that these dangers are potentially just as prevalent, and their effects can last just as long as an ACI tear, for example. If you think you might be experiencing something similar, here’s what’s known about treating Footballer’s Migraine.

Pain Relief Methods

The first thing to tackle a Footballer’s Migraine is the same thing you would do to soothe any other headache: seek pain relief. This doesn’t necessarily have to involve traditional medication, however, as Essential Oils have proven to help alleviate the effects of migraine headaches while simultaneously acting as an anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant. Prescription painkiller use has skyrocketed in recent years in America, with enough painkillers being prescribed in 2010 to keep every American adult medicated around the clock for a month. So if you want to try to reduce the amount of painkillers you’re putting into your system before and after a match, this may be the right alternative for you. 

Reducing The Risk

Footballer’s Migraine is predominantly the result of connecting with the ball on the wrong part of the head. Hitting the ball with the sides of the head or the back of the head is best avoided in both defensive and offensive situations, and will reduce the risk of injury long term. Blocking or heading the ball with the front of your head is the most effective in terms of protecting yourself and generally controlling the direction you’re looking to send the ball in anyway. One poorly connected header may not seem that risky, but after tens, hundreds, and potentially thousands of impacts over the course of your lifetime, the chance of damage scales up alongside it. 

The Science

More study is needed on the hazards and long term implications of Footballer’s Migraine. While lots of fruitful research is being made in tangential sports injuries (e.g. boxing, American football and rugby), more specific study is necessary to assess the risk to Footballers. The trouble lies in the fact that the injury is often caused by frequent non-concussive head trauma, and is therefore harder to detect and treat on the pitch. Players can find themselves colliding with the ball several times in any given game. This puts them at direct risk of injuries like Footballer’s Migraine. 

Obviously, if you find yourself suffering from persistent symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek professional medical advice. The earlier the issue is identified, the better equipped you’ll be to treat it effectively.

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