Physical Therapy for Headaches

If you have frequent headaches, there are a number of possible reasons for that. Many of those reasons can be addressed by physical therapy, thus reducing both the frequency and intensity of your headaches.

There are actually several different categories of headaches, and within each of those categories, several potential causes. The headache category physical therapists have had the most success in treating is that of tension headaches. Thus, during your first appointment, your headaches will be assessed in an effort to determine which category they fit into. Tension headaches are most commonly caused by stress, fatigue, or poor posture, though they are also sometimes caused by problems in the jaw or neck.

One of the ways your physical therapist will help you determine exactly what kind of headache you have is by asking you a series of questions. One of those questions is simply, “Where does it hurt?” Typically, a tension headache begins at the back of your head and spreads to its top. It can also be felt in your eyes. Specific positions, such as sitting at a desk, may make these types of headaches worse, and rest usually reduces their intensity. Of course, your therapist will also ask you whether or not you have experienced any injuries to your jaw, neck, or head.

One of the goals your therapist will have in treating your headaches is to improve the mobility of your neck. A technique known as manual therapy, in which the muscles at the back of your neck are stretched, is used in order to accomplish this. Another goal your therapist will have will be to improve your overall strength. This will help to further stabilize your upper back and neck, which in turn will improve your posture. As a result of your improved posture, it will be easier for you to stand or sit for longer periods of time without experiencing any additional pain.

Another goal will be to help you modify your work space. You can actually already do some of this. Using a headset instead of a regular phone is a great start if you aren’t doing that already. In addition, your computer screen should not be lower than the level of your eyes. You can check that right now. All of these tips will help you improve your posture which, as we mentioned, is a vitally important part of learning to manage your headaches.

If you or a loved one is suffering from Headaches, contact a physical therapist today.