Headaches and Migraines Specialists
Too often, people turn to over-the-counter painkillers when they’re struck with a headache. But don’t self-medicate if you’re experiencing constant headaches. And don’t assume that even migraines are incurable. In fact, physical therapy holds many answers if you’ve been living with persistent headaches. Even severe migraine headaches improve after a targeted plan of physical therapy programs and exercises. Discover if physical therapy can help you overcome your headaches; contact Tri Physical Therapy.
You may not think of a pain relief specialists as your first line of defense for treating headaches, but in fact, many physical therapy techniques can relieve several different types of chronic headaches, such as tension headaches and migraines.
Headache treatment using physical therapy can be especially effective for headaches that are caused by problems in the musculoskeletal system, such as poor posture, muscle tension, stiffness or disc problems.
Pain in any part of your head, particularly when it occurs frequently, can severely impact your quality of life. Your best PT specialist is always first concerned with getting back your full functioning abilities. Headaches have many possible causes and triggers. Those that are caused by problems with the pain-sensitive structures in your head are known as primary headaches. This type of headache isn’t a sign of underlying disease and often responds well to physical therapy modalities.
Types of Headaches
While there are many different types of headaches, they vary in intensity and duration. Whether your headache is dull, aching, pounding or throbbing — and on one or both sides of your head, it’s hard to think about much else while you have a headache. Two of the most common types of headaches are tension-type headaches and migraine headaches.
Common triggers for headaches include:
- Tense neck muscles
- Poor posture
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Food additives and processed foods
- Intense physical exertion
- Not getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep
Determining the Cause of Your Headaches
Treatment by a physical therapist can be very effective in treating your headache pain. Even after seeing your primary physician, you may get a referral to a Brooklyn physical therapy clinic because doctors understand the process works well for many people.
Your physical therapist conducts a separate, thorough evaluation in an effort to determine what’s causing your headaches before developing a treatment plan for you.
Brooklyn physical therapists need to know whether you’ve had an injury to your head, neck or jaw. They check your posture when you’re standing, sitting and lying down. They check the range of motion of your neck and shoulder muscles. Only after you’ve been thoroughly evaluated, your personal physical therapist recommends the different types of treatment to eliminate or at least reduce the severity of your headache. You may need just one modality or several in combination.
Treatments for a Tension Headache
Tension headaches may be episodic or chronic. Episodic tension headaches are headaches that usually happen once or twice a month. Tension headaches are considered chronic if they happen 15 times a month — or more frequently.
Your tension headache treatment with physical therapy focuses on relaxing your muscles.
The goal of your headache treatment in the realm of physical therapy is to reduce the frequency, intensity and duration of your tension headaches.
Some physical therapy techniques that may be used to help relieve the discomfort of tension headaches include:
- Gentle stretching
- Cervical relaxation exercises
- Soft tissue mobilization
- Postural treatment
Headaches Caused by Posture or Neck Problems
Neck problems are frequently a contributing factor in headache pain. Your Brooklyn physical therapist works with you to correct the problems that are causing your discomfort. Simple changes in your posture can make a big difference in the frequency or intensity of your headaches.
Manual therapy is a technique that may be used to improve your neck mobility. Using this technique, the muscles at the back of your neck are stretched and strengthened. Physical therapy exercises aimed at restoring your functional use are recommended sometimes to strengthen the muscles of your upper back and neck, which may make it easier for you to sit or stand for long periods of time without discomfort.
Chronic Headache Treatment with Physical Therapy
In many cases, you don’t have to learn to live with frequent headaches. Correcting your muscle imbalances and using physical therapy techniques to restore the mobility to your neck and shoulder joints can relieve many types of headaches.
Other treatments that may relieve your pain include:
- Spinal manipulation
- Shockwave therapy
- Active release techniques
- Trigger point therapy
- Myofascial treatments
Your Brooklyn physical therapist can help you understand what’s triggering your headaches. Armed with that information, you can find a path to relieving your pain without the use of strong painkillers. With fewer headaches and relief from pain comes a better quality of life. Get started today!