Headaches and migraines affect a large portion of the world’s population and are described by the type and location of pain in the head. Many headaches are harmless and resolve on their own. However, frequent moderate to severe headaches can impact your ability to perform daily activities and affect quality of life.
Different types of headaches include:
- Cervicogenic/neck muscle-related
- Secondary headaches from an underlying condition such as fever, infectious disease, sinus disorder, and in rare cases, a tumor or more serious illness
- Unspecified headaches
A physical therapist will perform a full examination to diagnose the type of headache. The exam may include assessment of: range of motion of the head/neck; joint mobility; musculature tightness, tenderness, and trigger points; strength and endurance of the deep neck flexor muscles; strength and endurance of the axioscapular muscles; and posture. The physical therapist may also include other appropriate tests and measures.
Based on the results of the examination, the physical therapist will then design a specific treatment plan. The physical therapist will likely perform manual therapy techniques in order to decrease pain and increase the movement of the head/neck. Based on their findings, they will develop the most effective treatment plan.
Physical Therapy Has Been Proven To:
- Decrease or resolve the intensity, frequency, and duration of headaches
- Improve function and mobility
- Improve range of motion in the neck
- Improve quality of life
Physical Therapy Treatment for Headaches May Include:
1. Manual therapy: hands-on techniques can:
- Relieve joint and muscle stiffness
- Increase mobility of the head and neck
- Decrease muscle tension and spasms
- Improve muscle performance
2. Exercises: research has shown that various types of exercises can:
- Decrease pain
- Improve endurance
- Decrease inflammation
- Promote overall healing
In addition, customized home-exercise programs are an essential part of the treatment plan.
3. Education: Educating patients is helpful in lessening the severity and/or frequency of headaches. A physical therapist can teach you how to identify your specific triggers (such as diet, sleep, movement/postural habits, stressors, hydration). They also can teach how to help alleviate symptoms through a wide variety of relaxation techniques.
If you or someone you know suffers with migraines, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment today!