Physical Therapy Can Offer Relief From Chronic Headaches

Mar20th 2021

In-Home Physical Therapy Provides for Persistent Headache Pain

Have you noticed that stress-related headaches are happening so frequently that they are impacting your daily life? If your answer is yes, it’s time to start thinking about physical therapy for pain relief. Stress-related headaches, also called tension headaches, are the most common type of headache people experience.

Tension headaches are not as serious as migraines, however, they are a sign that something in your body just isn’t right. Thankfully, you don’t have to continue to live in pain. Our in-home physical therapists can work with you to determine the cause and eliminate stress-related headaches for good!

What is causing my tension headaches?

One of the main causes of stress-related headaches is right there in the name: stress! These headaches generally occur when the muscles in the neck or scalp become tense and contract.

Depression and anxiety issues can also lead to tension headaches. In addition, there may be an underlying cause to your stress-related headaches. An accident or injury to the neck or back can contribute to headaches. Poor posture and arthritis are two other potential causes. It’s important to be assessed by a licensed physical therapist though, to know the true cause behind your headache pain.

In-home physical therapy can help with tension headaches

The ultimate goal of your in-home physical therapy treatment plan will be to eliminate your stress-related headaches – all from the comfort of your own home. However, in addition to relief, you will gain other health benefits that will likely improve your overall quality of life:

  • Relief from neck tension. You will have better range of motion in your neck and reduced tension, thanks to manual physical therapy techniques applied to the muscles there.
  • Improved strength: Your therapist will teach you strengthening exercises for your neck and upper back, which will lead to improved posture. With better posture, you will be able to stand and sit longer without experiencing discomfort.
  • Better posture. Poor posture is one of the leading causes of stress-related headaches. If you don’t maintain good posture throughout the day, it is likely you will experience more generalized aches and pains, as well as the muscle tension that contributes to stress-related headaches.

What is the typical physical therapy treatment like?

In general, you can expect stretching and strength training to be part of your in-home treatments. Other options that your physical therapist might employ can include:

  • McKenzie therapies
  • Cervical traction
  • Body mobilization
  • Hot and cold compressions
  • Soft tissue mobilization

Aside from your physical therapy sessions at home, your therapist will also recommend exercises, stretches and lifestyle changes that you can make, which will all contribute to eliminating your headaches. The treatment of your stress-related headaches will depend in part on the diagnosis. For example, one course of treatment that would work for correcting your posture and strengthening the neck muscles might not be appropriate if your headaches are the result of a past injury.

Underlying causes for your headache pain

Your physical therapist can help you figure out what is causing your headache problem. For example, say your headache is cervinogenic in nature. Your therapist may need to work on your neck, and teach you exercises that strengthen and loosen your neck muscles to help ease the stresses that set off your headaches.

Chiropractic adjustment can correct skeletal misalignment issues that place your neck muscles under unnatural strain. These adjustments can also help to reduce cluster headache attacks.

Your physical therapist may suggest laser therapy and massage therapy, which can both relax tight neck tissues and speed recovery to injured muscles. Corrective exercises and postural/ergonomic changes might be recommended as well to help you steer clear of “text neck” and other occupational headache triggers.

Your physical therapist will help you identify other migraine triggers and suggest strategies for avoiding them in your everyday life. If your migraines are the result of a recent concussion, a carefully-administered course of physical therapy can actually help you recuperate from that concussion more quickly.

How can a PT diagnose the cause of my headaches?

Before your in-home physical therapy treatments begin, your therapist will work with you to diagnose your headaches. It’s important for you to be honest with your therapist about your pain levels as well as any movement restrictions you might have.

You’ll need to discuss your medical history with the therapist. If you sustained an injury to your neck, back or jaw years ago, it could still be contributing to headaches to this day. The location where you experience pain, such as in the face, back of the neck or forehead, can also help to diagnose the source.

Your physical therapist will likely perform some tests as part of the diagnosis phase. For example, your posture will be checked as you engage in several activities. The strength of your muscles and the range of motion in your neck and shoulders will be tested. Your physical therapist might do some manual therapy to see how mobile your neck joints are.

Once the cause of your stress-related headaches is determined, a customized course of physical therapy can be prescribed to treat them, that you can do at home on your own time. Before you know it, your headaches will be a thing of the past!

Ready to find relief?

If you’re ready to find relief for your stress-related headaches, what are you waiting for? After working with a physical therapist to correct the problem at home, you’ll be able to successfully put your pain behind you. Contact On the Go Therapy Services Inc. today to schedule your first in-home appointment.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,