Headaches Affect Everyone
Headaches are the third most common pain complaint in the world. In addition to being a common cause of pain, they can be very debilitating, preventing individuals from participating in school, work, and many other activities.
There are many causes of headaches including muscle tension, chronic migraines, TMJ, whiplash after a car accident, after fall or concussion, nerve impingement, and sometimes the cause is unknown.
Symptoms of Headaches caused by Musculoskeletal issues may include:
• Muscle tension and tightness
• Decreased neck range of motion
• Tightness between the shoulder blades
• Episodes of dizziness or vertigo
• Teeth grinding or bruxing
The two most common types of headaches seen in physical therapy are cervicogenic headaches and tension type headaches:
Cervicogenic Headaches are headaches caused by a problem that starts in the neck, but the pain is referred upward into the head. Typical symptoms include pain on one side of the head and is typically felt at the base of the skull, behind the eye, or radiating in a line between the two.
Tension Headaches are typically related to stress and described as a dull, aching pain that is felt along the forehead and can radiate to the sides and back of the head. In addition, soreness in the neck and shoulder muscles may also be felt.
How Physical Therapy Helps Manage Headaches & Migraines
Many are unaware that in addition to medication, physical therapy is a great option to treat headache and migraines. Physical therapy is effective for several types of headaches including cervicogenic headaches and tension type headaches. At Phoenix Physical Therapy & Wellness, a physical therapist will complete a comprehensive evaluation aimed at determining the musculoskeletal causes of your headaches and will create a customized program to address your needs.
Treatment for headaches may include:
• Manual Theraphy
• Flexibility Exercises
• Strenghthening Exercises
• Postural Correction Exercises
• Pain Management Modalities (Heat, Ice, Electrical Stimulation, etc.)
• Therapeutic Massage
• Soft Tissue Mobilization
• Cervical Traction
• Home TENS