Do you frequently experience headaches? If so, you will be relieved to know you are not alone because headaches are the third most commonly reported cause of pain in the world.
Poor posture, stress, and other factors can cause muscle and joint weakness, strain, and injury in the neck, are all causes of headaches that can lead the pain to radiate from the scalp, the side of the head, or even the forehead.
Although physical therapy is not always the first thing that comes to mind when looking for relief, it can be extremely beneficial. Medications will only help relieve pain in the short term, which is why if you are living with chronic headaches physical therapy may be the key to long-term relief.
What Kinds of Headaches Are There?
Knowing how to recognize the type of headache you are experiencing will aid you in determining which physical therapy exercises will benefit you the most.
The three main types:
Musculoskeletal headaches –
Musculoskeletal headaches happen when the neck is overworked. The most common causes are physical imbalances, deficiencies, or injury, but emotional stress can also play a role. Whiplash along with other neck injuries can put a strain on the muscles and connective tissues and cause musculoskeletal headaches.
Cervicogenic headaches –
Cervicogenic headaches are a type of headache caused by pain in the neck’s top three vertebrae. Cervicogenic headaches can be caused by conditions, such as concussion, arthritis, or even work-related strains. These kinds of headaches are more common in people who work jobs that require a down-turned head or neck motion on a regular basis.
Tension headaches –
Tension headaches are caused by pressure on the “dura mater,” a delicate membrane that surrounds the brain. When the dura mater is stressed, it spasms near the small muscles at the base of the skull, sending pain signals to the brain and resulting in a headache. This can be caused by repetitive movements or poor neck/head posture.
The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Headache Pain
Improved function and mobility.
It can decrease or resolve the intensity, frequency, and duration of headaches.
Physical therapy can help you decrease your need for or dependence on medications.
It can improve the ease of motion in the neck.
You can experience an overall improved quality of life.
At your first appointment, one of our physical therapists will conduct a physical examination to determine the type of headache you are experiencing and the source of your pain. Following that, a treatment plan will be created specifically for you, which will most likely include targeted workouts, manual therapy, and patient education.