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Soothe Your Headaches with Natural Relief Methods

March 20th, 2020

It is no secret that headaches can cause limits to your daily life. Fortunately, physical therapy can help you overcome those painful barriers.

If you are suffering from headaches, you are not alone. In fact, the International Headache Society states that headaches are the third most common pain complaint across the world.

If you are living with constant headaches and you’re looking for relief, contact our office today to consult with one of our licensed physical therapists. We’ll help you rid yourself of that pounding pain!

Why am I getting headaches?

Any type of pain that occurs within the head can be referred to as a “headache.” Most headaches will resolve on their own without medical intervention; however, severe or recurrent headaches that interfere with one’s quality of life should most certainly be evaluated further. 

The challenge lies in identifying which type of headache you’re experiencing and then devising a treatment plan accordingly. Physical therapists are adept at diagnosing different types of headaches and can develop pain relief strategies for stress-related headaches.

There are several different types of headaches that can be treated with physical therapy. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Stress (tension).
  • Exertion.
  • Cluster.
  • Migraine or sinus.
  • Hypertension.
  • Rebound.
  • Post-traumatic.
  • Hormone.
  • Caffeine.

Tension headaches are some of the most commonly treated headaches by a physical therapist. They occur when the neck and scalp muscles contract or become tense, and they can happen at any age. Stress-related headaches generally start at the back of the head and progress to the top of the head and eyes, sometimes accompanied by facial pain along the jaw and cheeks. This type of discomfort has been compared to having hair pulled or wearing a very tight hat. These types of headaches can occur as a result of:

  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Increased stress.
  • Poor posture.
  • Fatigue.
  • Neck or jaw problems.
  • Arthritis.

How can physical therapy help relieve headaches?

Your physical therapist may suggest any combination of specialized treatment services, including but not limited to:

  • Strengthening exercises.
  • Stretching exercises.
  • Ice or heat compressions.
  • Muscle energy techniques.
  • Muscular releases.
  • Body mobilization.
  • Soft tissue mobilization.
  • Cervical traction.
  • McKenzie-based therapies.

With all treatment plans, you can expect to receive education that will supplement your in-office experience.

Contact us today to find relief:

When you arrive for your consultation, you will undergo a comprehensive evaluation in order to determine what type of headache you are experiencing and how to treat it accordingly. This evaluation will include:

  • Tests of your muscle strength and sensation.
  • Inquiries about the location of the pain, in addition to any other symptoms you are experiencing. 
  • Questions regarding previous injuries to your neck, head, jaw, and/or back.
  • Measurements regarding the range of motion of your shoulders, neck, and other relevant parts of the body.
  • Examination of your posture while engaged in different activities.
  • Manual therapy to ascertain the mobility of joints and muscles in your neck.

The primary mission of physical therapy is pain relief and increased function. Your physical therapist will help you achieve this through:

  • Posture improvement. Your posture throughout the day greatly impacts your likelihood for pain and stress-related headaches. Your physical therapist will teach you methods of improving your posture in order to function more comfortably in your daily life.
  • Neck improvement. Using manual therapy, your physical therapist will stretch the muscles in the back of your neck to relieve pain and increase movement.
  • Strength improvement. You’ll learn exercises to help strengthen the muscles that control your neck and upper back, in order to improve posture and increase your ability to stand or sit comfortably for longer periods of time. 

Are your headaches causing limits to your daily life? The sooner you consult with a physical therapist, the less likely your headaches will progress into more severe pain. Contact our office today to get started on the first steps of your own personalized treatment plan!

Sources:

https://www.moveforwardpt.com/SymptomsConditionsDetail.aspx?cid=fd8a18c8-1893-4dd3-9f00-b6e49cad5005

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4316547/

http://www.ihs-headache.org/

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