How a Physical or Occupational Therapist Can Treat Your Headaches

Headaches and migraines are a very common problem experienced by most people. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine 15% of Americans suffer from severe headaches or migraines. A headache is considered any kind of pain that is experienced in the head. Many people experience frequent headaches, especially women. This condition is considered chronic when you have headaches 15 or more days per month for three months or more.

Headaches come in a number of different varieties the most common types of headaches including migraines are very treatable with physical or occupational therapy. Getting treatment from a physical or occupational therapist for a chronic or frequent headache problem is a natural and drug free choice for your health. In many cases working with a physical or occupational therapist produces quick results that can help put a stop to getting frequent headaches.

Common Headache Varieties

Cervicogenic Headaches- This kind of headache comes from a neck problem and the pain from the neck is being transferred to the head. Pain from this kind of headache is often felt on one side of the head and is usually accompanied by neck pain. Areas of the head that are often affected include the base of the scull or the pain is coming up from the base of the skull to behind the eyes or face. People with this kind of headache often experience reduced neck range of motion. The headache will get worse with certain movements of the neck or when pressure is applied to certain areas of the neck. A physical or occupational therapist will work on correcting the neck problem, usually within a single treatment the patient will start to experience headache relief.

Tension Headaches- Tension headaches usually have a stress trigger. But can also be caused by caffeine, fatigue, eyestrain, and alcohol. This is the most common type of headache and is often described as feeling like wearing a headband too tight around forehead, sides, or back of the head. The pain can range from mild to intense. Pain from this kind of headache usually happens in the head, neck, and behind the eyes. Tension headaches can be accompanied by pain in the shoulders, neck, and scalp. People that suffer from tension headaches usually have them once or twice a month, but they can become chronic. Physical or occupational therapy is the best option to deal with this kind of headache.

Posture Dysfunction Headaches- Maintaining correct posture throughout the day is very important to help prevent this kind of headache. The spine is naturally curved in three places to help support the body. Bad posture can increase the curves of the spine or even straighten the curves. The forward head posture experienced by many people that work on the computer all day will straighten the cervical spine out and this straightening of the spine will lead to headaches and neck weakness. Because the brain stem connects directly to the spinal cord tension placed anywhere on the spine can result in a headache. A physical or occupational therapist can work with you to relive this kind of headache and help correct your posture.

Your physical or occupational therapist will work with you to help determine what is causing your headaches and the best treatment plan to address your problem. Frequent treatments include manual therapy, exercises, posture improvements, and possibly workstation ergonomic advice. The goal of your physical or occupational therapist will be to improve your strength, neck mobility, and posture in order to help you feel better and no longer experience frequent headaches. Your therapy sessions will also include education that will help you not depend on therapy or medication for headache relief, but be able to naturally get headache relief yourself.

If you experience frequent or chronic headaches that interfere with your daily life working with a physical or occupational therapist could help you find relief. Make an appointment today (651) 646-7246 and get on the path to feeling better.

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