Headaches & Migraines

Pain of any type that occurs in any part of the head is called a headache. There are many different types of headaches, with just as many causes. The International Headache Society describes several different categories of headache:

• Cervicogenic (also called muscle-spasm headaches).

• Cranial neuralgias, facial pain, and other headaches.

• Headaches are a common occurrence in individuals with known neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, or a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury.

• Individuals who have a known neurological condition should notify their health care provider if headaches occur.

There is effective treatment for almost every type of headache. The challenge lies in determining the type of headache, its cause, and in developing an appropriate treatment plan that will reduce both its frequency and intensity. Physical therapists can help determine the type of headache you have, and are experts in managing pain from a variety of sources.

Most headaches are harmless and resolve on their own, although severe headaches that recur frequently can affect your ability to do your daily activities, and can reduce your quality of life.

• Secondary headaches from an underlying condition, such as fever, infectious disease, sinus disorder, or in rare cases, a tumor or more serious illness.

• Migraine and cluster.

What are Headaches?

Headaches, like back pain, are one of the most common of all physical complaints and can be one of the most frustrating to manage. Pain of any type that occurs in any part of the head is called a headache.
Tension-type headaches (also called muscle-spasm headaches) are the most common types of headaches in adults. They may be the result of a neck or jaw problem, poor posture, fatigue, or stress.

A problem in the neck, head, or jaw–such as an injury or arthritis–can lead to tension in the muscles at the back of the head and to increased pressure on the nerves to the face and head. Poor posture can cause these muscles to become overworked, which can trigger a headache.

If it appears that you do have tension-type headaches, your physical therapist will work with you to design a plan of care to meet your goals. If the evaluation indicates that you may have a different type of headache–such as sinus, migraine, or cluster headache–your physical therapist likely will refer you to another health care professional for additional diagnostic tests and treatment.

How Physical Therapy Helps:

Your physical therapist will work with you to correct the problems that are causing your pain and will help you learn to prevent headaches through simple changes in your posture and lifestyle:

Our trained physical therapists examine for many different factors that can be adding to the causes of your headache or migraine. They look for correct alignment, posture, muscle strength of the neck, upper back and shoulders, joint movement in the neck and much more.
If there are limitations in movement or strength in the neck or upper back, this will be addressed to restore your normal mobility. This also increases blood flow in the area, reducing the common spasms that can occur. In addition, our therapists will train you on exercises and techniques that you can use to prevent future occurrences.

Improve neck mobility

Physical therapists use a specialized technique called manual therapy to increase movement and relieve pain and to stretch the muscles of the back of the neck.

Improve your strength

Your physical therapist will teach you exercises to increase the strength of the muscles that help stabilize your upper back and neck to improve your posture and endurance and make it easier for you to sit or stand for longer periods of time without discomfort.

Improve your posture

Physical therapists will teach you to ways to improve your posture. Whether it is simply pushing your chest out or pulling your shoulder blades backward and together, slight modifications to everyday living can make a vast improvement in posture.

Modify your workstation or home office.

Physical therapists will teach you to ways to improve your posture. Whether it is simply pushing your chest out or pulling your shoulder blades backward and together, slight modifications to everyday living can make a vast improvement in posture.

o using a headset instead of a regular phone

o adjusting your computer screen so that it is no lower than the level of your eyes

o adjusting the position of your computer mouse

o finding an appropriate desk chair

Contact Well Done Physical Therapy in Waco, TX as soon as possible so we can help create an individualized physical therapy regimen to help you recover.

Further Reading

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) believes that consumers should have access to information that could help them make health care decisions, and also prepare them for their visit with their health care provider.

 

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