One of the most common daily complaints of pain is the all too common headache.  It is the 3rd most common complaint of pain that people complain of daily.  Headaches can impact a person’s daily life, making it difficult to concentrate and perform daily tasks.  How many of us have showed up to work or school, with a POUNDING headache, that just would not go away as the day progressed.  Most of those people would say that it was very difficulty to perform their work or school tasks.  Fortunately, relief is just a phone call away.  Please contact Optimum Physical Therapy and Wellness for information on how PHYSICAL THERAPY can help with your headaches, allowing you to return to performing daily activities.

WHY DO I GET TENSION HEADACHES?

The most common cause of headaches experienced by teenagers and adults is tension-headaches.   Tension headaches, also referred to ad stress-related headaches, occur when the scalp and neck muscles become tense and the muscles in that area contract and become tight.  The headache pain usually begins at the base of the skull and moves the top of the head, which then can cause pain behind the eyes.  Tension headaches can also routinely cause cheek and jaw pain.  People have stated these headaches feel like they are wearing a very tight hat, or having their hair pulled.  The main reason people get tension headaches is as follows:

  • Increased Stress
  • Poor Posture
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • History of neck and jaw dysfunction
  • Arthritis

DETERMINING TYPE OF HEADACHE

Types of headaches. Set of headache types on different area of patient head. Woman with tession cluster and other head variety of migraine.

Before creating a treatment plan for physical therapy, it is important to determine the type of headache one is experiencing.  This is important because some types of headaches need to be addressed by other medical professionals, to rule out other serious medical issues.  Most headaches will decrease in intensity and resolve on their own, but if headache does not subside or gets worse, medical attention is warranted.  Here are the 10 most common headaches that people experience:

  • Tension/Stress (Responds well with physical therapy)
  • Migraine
  • Sinus
  • Cluster
  • Rebound
  • Hypertension
  • Hormone
  • Exertion
  • Post Traumatic (Concussion)
  • Caffeine

HOW PHYSICAL THERAPY CAN HELP & WHAT TO EXPECT ON YOUR 1ST SESSION?

Your physical therapist will take and review a thorough medical history and history of your headache symptoms, along with any other symptoms that you may be experiencing.  Once the therapist determines that physical therapy will be beneficial, and no other health risks need to be addressed, a thorough Physical Therapy evaluation will be performed, which will include

  • Questions about any history of neck, jaw, or back injury/dysfunction
  • Inquires about location and characteristics of headache pain, as well as severity and how it is affecting daily function.
  • A postural assessment will be performed to note neck, shoulder, jaw, and back positioning as it can play a part in tension headaches.
  • ROM and strength of the neck, mid back, and shoulders will be performed, as any limitations can be a contributory factor for tension headaches.
  • Joint mobility of the neck, mid-back, and jaw will be assessed for too much or too little mobility.

WHAT WILL YOUR PHYSICAL THERAPY TREATMENT CONSIST OF?

  • Improved strength to the muscles that control the neck and upper back, allowing one to improve sitting and standing tolerance.
  • The various manual therapy techniques performed by the physical therapist will improve mobility and stretch muscles, which will help relieve the tension causing one’s headaches.
  • Proper posture techniques and improving one’s posture will greatly improve daily function and help reduce and/or eliminate tension headaches.

If you are suffering from daily tension headaches, there are things that can be done without the use of daily medication.  Please contact Optimum Physical Therapy and Wellness, to set your initial session, and get on the path of enjoying your daily activities headache free.

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