They can impact your quality of life and make it difficult to function normally. Luckily, headache relief can be found through physical therapy.
Did you know that headaches are the third most common pain complaint throughout the world? Your trained physical therapist will work with you to provide pain relief from headaches, in addition to any other aches and pains you may be suffering from. In this guide, we’ll outline the different types of headaches and the causes for them, in addition to explaining how physical therapy can help.
How is physical therapy used as a way to treat stress-related headaches?
Our physical therapist may suggest any combination of specialized treatment services, including but not limited to:
- Muscular releases
- Muscle energy techniques
- Body mobilization
- Soft tissue mobilization
- Heat or ice compressions
- Cervical traction
- McKenzie-based therapies
With all treatment plans, you can expect to receive education that will supplement your in-office experience.
While the end goal of physical therapy is pain relief, there are some important steps along the way that our physical therapist will help you with, in order to decrease pain and improve function. These include, but are not limited to:
- Neck improvement. Using manual therapy, our 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.
- Posture improvement. Your posture throughout the day greatly impacts your likelihood for pain and stress-related headaches. Our physical therapist will teach you methods of improving your posture in order to function more comfortably in your daily life.
So, how exactly will it benefit me?
At your initial visit, your physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation of your physical abilities, in addition to reviewing your health history. He or she will ask you a series of questions to determine the type of headache you’re experiencing.
After your physical therapist determines what type of headache you’re dealing with you’ll work together to develop a treatment plan for meeting your physical health goals.
During your first visit, you can expect to undergo some of the following:
- 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.
- Examination of your posture while engaged in different activities.
- Tests of your muscle strength and sensation.
- Measurements regarding the range of motion of your shoulders, neck, and other relevant parts of the body.
- Manual therapy to ascertain the mobility of joints and muscles in your neck.
Why am I experiencing these headaches?
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:
- Increased stress
- Poor posture
- Neck or jaw problems
What other types of headaches are there?
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 several different types of headaches that can be treated with physical therapy. These include, but are not limited to:
- Stress (tension)
- Migraine or sinus
Get started today!
Persistent and life-altering headaches may not go away without physical therapy. To experience long-lasting pain relief and improve your quality of life, contact Physical Therapy & Rehab Specialists today. Our staff would be happy to talk with you and discuss how we can help you achieve a pain-free life.