Headaches

Headaches

Is Chronic Headache Pain Getting in The Way of Your Life?

Physical Therapy May Help.

Do you have chronic headaches or migraine-related pain? If you do, you may wonder exactly what contributes to your pain. 

Bad posture, stress, and other factors can cause weakness, strain, and injury to the muscles and joints of the neck. This pain radiates through the scalp, the side of the head, and even the forehead, depending on the area of the body. 

Headaches are the third most frequently recorded cause of pain in the world, so you may find some relief in knowing that you're not alone if this is something you're dealing with.

Most of the time when you have a headache, some type of pain-relieving medicine might be your go-to. It's true that physical therapy is not necessarily someone's first thought when they have a headache, but it can really help.

Medications can help to alleviate pain in the short term, but if you are chronically suffering from headaches or migraines, pain relief medications will not give you the same long-term benefits that physical therapy will have. Request an appointment with one of our therapists today!

Types of headaches

Many people may not know this, but there are actually different types of headaches that all develop from different causes. The three main types of headaches include:

Tension headaches

Tension headaches are caused by a pressure on the "dura mater," a delicate membrane that surrounds the brain. The dura mater sits close to the small muscles at the base of the skull, which go into spasm when the dura mater is stressed, transmitting signals of pain to the brain and triggering your headache. 

This is the most common type of headache, which can occur due to repeated movements or poor posture in the neck/head. If you've ever seen someone at work holding their head at their desk, it's possibly due to a tension headache.

Musculoskeletal headaches

Musculoskeletal headaches arise when there is a large amount of strain in the neck. This is usually the product of physical imbalances, deficiencies, or injury, while emotional stress (such as work or relationship issues) can also be a contributing factor.

Traumatic damage to the neck, such as whiplash, is a common cause of musculoskeletal headache. In the case of neck injuries such as whiplash, the muscles and connective tissues in the neck may become strained. This can lead to agonizing pain in the head, as well as in the face, shoulders, or neck.

Cervicogenic headaches

The majority of headaches are rooted in problems with the neck.

Cervicogenic headaches are related to pain in the neck, affecting the top three vertebrae of the neck. These headaches may occur as a result of some disorders, such as concussion or arthritis, but work-related strains may also cause cervicogenic headache.

People who work jobs that consistently require a down-turned motion of the head or neck are more likely to experience cervicogenic headaches. These can include hairdressers, long-haul drivers, cooks, nail artists, jewelers, etc.

How physical therapy offers relief from painful headaches

Choose PT states that physical therapy has been shown to help manage chronic headache pain in the following ways:

  • Therapy can improve function and mobility.
  • It can improve the ease of motion in the neck.
  • You can experience an overall improved quality of life.
  • It can decrease or resolve the intensity, frequency, and duration of headaches.
  • Physical therapy can help you cut back on the need for medications.

At Full Circle Physical Therapy in Monterey, we are committed to providing you with the best treatment for your headaches. At your initial appointment, one of our highly qualified physical therapists will perform a physical exam and ask you questions about your health history and symptoms, in order to assess what sort of headache you are having and where the pain comes from.

A treatment plan will then be tailored specifically for you and your rehabilitation, most likely including targeted workouts, manual therapy, and patient education to help minimize the amount of headaches you will end up having in the future.

Remember that no two patients are alike, and neither are two treatment plans! The only way to find out what a therapist will recommend for your headache pain is to request an appointment with one.

Let us help you find relief

At Full Circle Physical Therapy our methods of therapy focus on pain relief, posture enhancement, and muscle strengthening in the neck and upper back.

These will all help make your daily life much more relaxed and bearable without the agony of headaches! Call (831) 717-4827 to talk to one of our physical therapists or click here to order your appointment at Monterey, CA.

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