Headaches…Do You Suffer in Silence? There is relief!

Pain of any type that occurs in the head is called a headache. There are also many different types of headaches, with just as many causes.

Here are the different categories of headaches:

· Tension-type

· Cervicogenic headaches

· Migraine or cluster

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

· Cranial neuralgia, facial pain, and other headaches

Most headaches are harmless and resolve on their own, although severe headaches that recur frequently can affect your ability to do daily activities and can reduce your quality of life. There are effective treatments for most types of headaches. Physical therapists can help determine the type of headache you are experiencing and are experts in managing pain from tension-type headaches and cervicogenic headaches.

Tension-type headaches, (also called muscle-spasm headaches), are the most common types of headaches in adults. They can also be the result of a neck or jaw problem, poor posture, fatigue, or stress.

A problem in the neck, head, or jaw can lead to tension in the muscles at the base of the head and also lead to increased pressure on the nerves to the face and head. Poor posture can also cause these muscles to become overworked, which can trigger a headache and there are treatments other than medications that can help.

Management of migraines, tension, or cervicogenic headaches may include education, deep tissue massage and other manual therapy techniques such as gentle joint mobilizations, soft tissue mobilization/myofascial release and dry needling.

Dry Needling is an excellent treatment technique for Migraines and Headaches. Dry needling involves inserting fine filament needles deep into the trigger points or knotted parts of the muscles, temples, and or other areas. Dry needling alleviates the tension without inflicting additional pain or discomfort that can be experienced with deep tissue or remedial massage.

The active trigger points refer pain that mimic the symptoms experienced with headaches and migraines. These trigger points can also cause headaches and migraines to occur. The most common muscles affected are the upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, levator scapulae, temporalis, and masseters. The proper treatment depends on several factors including the type and frequency of the headache and its cause, although not all headaches require medical attention.

Physical therapy will address posture, range of motion and joint mobility and strength. If, after a thorough evaluation of the patient by a physician, it is determined that physical therapy is a viable conservative treatment option, the patient can expect his or her treatment to include:

  • Skilled mobilization of the cervical spine
  • Education about job or lifestyle modifications
  • Postural correction exercises
  • Soft tissue manual therapy
  • Co-management with other health care providers

Physical therapy will address posture, range of motion, joint mobility and strength to get you feeling better, faster!