Headache is pain in any region of the head. Headaches may occur on one or both sides of the head, be isolated to a certain location, radiate across the head from one point, or have a viselike quality. A headache may appear as a sharp pain, a throbbing sensation or a dull ache. Headaches can develop gradually or suddenly, and may last from less than an hour to several days.
Most common types of headaches
1. Tension- tension headaches are often related to stress, depression or anxiety
2. Cluster- sharp, extremely painful headaches that tend to occur several times per day for months then go away for a similar period of time
3. Hormone (Menstrual Migraine)- menstrual headaches affect 70% of women
4. Migraine- a legitimate biological disease affecting nearly 30 million Americans. Migraines are more common than asthma, diabetes and coronary heart disease combined.
Using Physical Therapy to Treat Headaches
We typically think of physical therapy as a treatment for injuries or muscle pains, did you know that it can also help get rid of headaches?
All of us experience headaches caused by stress or fatigue at some point, but when they become recurring and interfere with your daily life, it could signal the need for a more intensive approach. Physical therapy can provide relief and a long term solution for chronic headache sufferers. Some patients who come into the clinic for headaches report that this is the only symptom they’re experiencing. However, most patients have noticed additonal issues in conjunction with their headaches, such as neck or shoulder pain. Headaches are often connected to other injuries that can be treated together.
As with any other injury, your first appointment will invlove an evaluation or an assessment with the physical therapist to determine what type of headache you are suffering from ( tension headaches, migraines, or headaches resulting from another muscle pain or joint injury) and then they will design an individualized treatment plan for you. Therapists can identify the roots of your headaches and find any connections, like spasms of the face muscles, poor posture, or tightness between the shoulder blades. Treating headaches with physical therapy can provide benefits beyond just getting rid of aching or throbbing in one’s head. It can also improve joint mobility and strengthen muscles in the upper back and neck, which will effectively lessen the likelihood of chronic headaches returning. A headache often makes any other discomfort feel even worse, so treating headaches can have a chain reaction and give you a clear mind to address other aches and pains.
When headaches are frequent and ongoing, they can interfere with our jobs, relationships,sleep, and quality of life. If you experience recurrent headaches and have tried other remedies with no success, physical therapy might be a good option for you.