Headaches and Physical Therapy... You Don’t Have To Live With Pain
If you've ever suffered from headaches you know how difficult they can be to manage. At times they're simply a nuisance, and other times they make it difficult to function during everyday activities.
causes. The International Headache Society describes several
different categories of headaches including:
- Migraine and cluster
- Secondary headaches from an underlying condition, such
as fever, disease, sinus, etc.
- Cranial neuralgias, facial pain, and other headaches
Headaches that recur frequently can affect your ability to
do daily activities and reduce your quality of life. However,
there is effective treatment for almost every type of headache.
The challenge lies in determining the type of headache, its cause, and in developing an appropriate treatment plan that will reduce both its frequency and intensity. As physical therapists, we can help determine the type of headache you have and we are experts in managing pain from tension-type headaches.
What are Headaches?
Headaches, like back pain, are one of the most common physical complaints and can be one of the most frustrating for a person to manage. Tension-type headaches (also called muscle-spasm headaches) are the most common types of headaches in adults and they may be the result of a neck or jaw problem, poor posture, fatigue, or stress.
A problem in the neck, head, or jaw--such as an injury or arthritis--can lead to tension in the muscles at the back of the head and to increased pressure on the nerves to the face and head. Poor posture can cause these muscles to become overworked, which can trigger a headache.
How Can a Physical Therapist Help with Tension Headaches?
We conduct a thorough examination that includes a review of your health history. We will ask you questions and perform tests to determine the most likely cause of your headaches. If it appears that you do have tension-type headaches, we will work with you to design a plan of care to meet your goals.
Tension headaches can range from a simple pain in the neck that moves to the base of the neck or top of the head to debilitating pain. Commonly, tension headaches are related to poor posture or excessive physical activity leading to abnormal tension in muscles. This tension, along with the abnormal positioning, can decrease the normal oxygen to the brain leading to the headache. The use of a physical therapist and/or massage therapist can help relieve this unwanted tension through massage, stretching and/or proper exercise prescription. They can also help to educate you on the proper posture. Additional treatment options may include McKenzie or Mulligan Mobilization with Movement.
As physical therapists, we will work with you to correct the problems that are causing your pain and help you learn to prevent headaches through simple changes in your posture and lifestyle. We work to improve neck mobility and strength in your upper back and neck, improve your posture, and modify your workstation or home office.