Chances are you have experienced a headache at least once in your life. Unfortunately, this is one problem that just about no one is immune to. What’s even worse, however, is that a large percentage of the population faces headaches at such a frequent rate that going a full day without a headache may seem like it’s too good to be true.
Headaches can put a major damper on a person’s day, sucking the fun out of family activities and making it difficult to concentrate on work or getting things done. Many people turn to over-the-counter medications as a means of addressing the lingering pain associated with headaches, however, these medications do very little to help the headache actually go away.
In order to overcome regular headaches, you must understand why the headaches are happening in the first place. In many situations, physical therapy can be used to reduce the frequency and severity of chronic headaches, and also help you to find out exactly what is triggering them. If you’re suffering from painful tension headaches, call Health Point Physical Therapy today to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled therapists.
Types of headaches
According to Healthline, approximately 45 million Americans frequently have severe headaches that can be disabling. There are several predominant types of headaches, and step one of treating your headache is identifying what type of headache you are experiencing.
A majority of headaches are attributed to cervicogenic headaches, meaning that they are related to the neck in some form. This means that having poor posture, experiencing a lot of stress, and other factors can contribute to weakness, strain, and injury to the neck muscles and joints. This pain radiates up into the scalp, side of the head, and even the forehead, depending on the area of the neck involved.
Other common types of headaches include:
- Nutrient-deficient / dehydration headaches
- Stress-related headaches
- Migraine headaches
- Thunderclap headaches
- Rebound headaches
- Sinus headache
- Post-traumatic headache
- Medication-related headache
- Tension headaches
Working with a physical therapist can help you to address chronic pain associated with tension, stress-related, and migraine headaches. Physical therapy for headaches will often incorporate several different treatment modalities, including a combination of massage therapy, guided stretching and muscle training, and additional therapeutic techniques, like hot and cold therapy and chiropractic adjustment.
Headaches can be identified based on how frequently they develop, the severity of the pain, and wherein the head the pain is experienced. Physical therapy is often recommended for headaches that develop with regular frequency—at least once or twice per week.
What causes a headache?
There are many factors that can result in migraine headaches, including some of the following:
- Fluctuating hormone levels
- Stress or anxiety
- Certain foods
- Not eating regular meals
- Sleeping too little or not enough
- Bright lights
- Changes in weather
- Alcohol consumption
- Caffeine withdrawals
Physical therapy vs medication for headaches
It’s estimated that 7 in 10 people have at least one headache each year. While many people turn to medication for headache relief, medications merely dull the pain of the headache. They’re practically band-aids! Medication can also result in dependence and addiction, which will bring several other health-related problems your way in the future.
Physical therapy reduces the likelihood of headaches returning in the future by correcting the issue that caused the problem in the first place. Stress-related headaches are often associated with tension, as well, while migraine headaches could be the result of an imbalance of hormones or nutrient deficiency.
Targeted massage and stretching can alleviate tension in the neck, back, and shoulders, which can reduce the severity of tension headaches.
You can start working to reduce the pain of headaches at home by following a few simple strategies. Drinking plenty of water can help to reduce your risk of dehydration, which, like other nutritional deficiencies, can frequently lead to headaches. Fitting healthy activities like daily yoga practice into your routine can also help you to alleviate tension and reduce the severity and frequency of your headaches.
Prior to beginning any new treatment program for your headaches, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor. They will be able to suggest the best course of action for managing your headache-related pain.
Ready to find pain relief with physical therapy?
At your first appointment, a physical therapist will conduct a thorough assessment of your body, and ask you questions about your pain symptoms and medical history in order to determine what type of headache you are experiencing and where the root cause of the pain is located.
A treatment plan will then be designed specifically for you and your recovery. Our therapists know that no two patients are alike, and neither are their symptoms. Rest assured that your treatment plan will be created especially for you, customized with the best exercises and modalities for your specific condition.
You don’t have to deal with the constant thread of headaches. Working with a physical therapist can help you to make this chronic condition a thing of the past. To learn more about how our services can help you, contact Health Point Physical Therapy today.