Do You Suffer From Frequent Headaches? Physiotherapy Can Help

Headaches

Do You Suffer From Frequent Headaches? Physiotherapy Can Help

Physiotherapy Can Help You Head Away From Chronic Headaches

The term “sick headache” might have been coined to describe exactly how you feel today — and every day. A one-off headache encounter can be distressing enough, but frequent or constant headache pain can completely disable you. Many of these headaches have underlying musculoskeletal or biochemical causes — which means that they can be corrected through the right forms of treatment. In many cases, physiotherapy turns out to be just what the doctor ordered for chronic headaches.

Anatomy of a Headache: Understanding the Underlying Causes

What is a headache, beyond the simple definition of a pain in the head? There are actually several categories of headaches, each with its own distinct causes and symptoms.

For most sufferers, chronic headaches mean tension headaches. A tension headache can be triggered or aggravated by emotional tension, but the actual mechanism involves physical tension in the muscles of the neck. Tight or strained neck muscles can go into spasm. When spasms overtake certain tiny muscles near the base of the skull, the resulting tugging action irritates a membrane called the dura mater. The dura mater then responds by flooding your head with a vaguely pounding or aching sensation.

Weak or underdeveloped neck muscles may be naturally vulnerable to tightness and spasms. Accident injuries (including whiplash) can push the skull off-center in relation to the neck, subjecting the neck muscles to abnormal stresses. (A headache that specifically involves the upper cervical spine is termed a cervinogenic headache.) Even routine postural problems can cause neck strain and tension headaches. For instance, if you stare down at your smartphone for hours each day, you can develop a painful problem known as “text neck” which also promotes headaches.

Other kinds of headaches, while less common, can prove even more debilitating. Cluster headaches are a prime example. These intense headaches strike one side of your face in clusters of attacks. These headaches have been associated with cervical spinal abnormalities.

Migraines are even more notorious for causing nausea, light/sound sensitivity, faintness and vision problems on top of brutal headaches. Migraines sometimes occur as a complication of concussions; they are also triggered by exposure to specific stimuli such as lights, sounds, or foods.

How Our Physiotherapist Can Reduce Your Discomfort

Our physiotherapist can help you get to the bottom of your headache problem. If your headache is cervinogenic in nature, we may need to work on your neck. For instance:

  • Exercises that strengthen and loosen your neck muscles can help to ease the stresses that set off your headaches.
  • Chiropractic adjustment can correct skeletal misalignment issues that place your neck muscles under unnatural strain. These adjustments can also help to reduce cluster headache attacks.
  • Laser therapy and massage therapy can both relax tight neck tissues and speed recovery to injured muscles.
  • Corrective exercises and postural/ergonomic changes can help you steer clear of “text neck” and other occupational headache triggers.
  • If your migraines are the result of a recent concussion, a carefully-administered course of physiotherapy can actually help you recuperate from that concussion more quickly.
  • Our physiotherapist can help you identify other migraine triggers and suggest strategies for avoiding them in your everyday life.

Ready to Overcome Headache Pain? Give Physiotherapy a Try

You’re not doomed to go through life plagued by frequent headaches. If you’re ready to free yourself from this burden, give physiotherapy a try. Contact our physiotherapists today to learn more about our headache treatment options!

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How to Find Relief from Stress-Related Headaches

Headaches are the third most common pain complaint throughout the world. They are debilitating and can greatly impact a person’s quality of life.

Fortunately, relief is possible. By working with a trained physiotherapist, you can experience immediate pain relief from stress-related headaches and other ailments that may be contributing to your suffering. In this guide, we’ll outline the different types of headaches and the causes for them, and explain how NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness Winnipeg, CA can help.

Types of Headaches

Pain of any sort that occurs in the head is called a headache. Many resolve on their own and don’t need intervention. However, severe headaches that recur frequently and interfere with quality of life often demand further evaluation. The challenge lies in identifying which type of headache you’re experiencing and then devising a treatment plan accordingly. Physiotherapists are adept at diagnosing different types of headaches and can develop pain relief strategies for stress-related headaches.

There are 10 common types of headaches:

  • Stress (tension) headaches
  • Post-traumatic headaches
  • Cluster headaches
  • Hormone headaches
  • Caffeine headaches
  • Migraine or sinus headaches
  • Exertion headaches
  • Rebound headaches
  • Hypertension headaches

What Are Stress-Related Headaches?

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache in adults and older teens. They often appear as a result of poor posture, increased stress, neck or jaw problems, fatigue, or arthritis, although it’s possible to experience them when feeling anxious, depressed or stressed. They occur when the neck and scalp muscles contract or become tense, and they can happen at any age.

Stress-related headaches generally start at the back of the head and progress to the top of the head and eyes. Sometimes, facial pain along the jaw and cheeks accompanies the headache. They have been compared to wearing a tight hat, having hair pulled or a squeezing of the head from the ears inward.

How Can a Physiotherapist Help?

Your physiotherapist will conduct a thorough evaluation of your health history and a careful physical examination. He or She will ask you a series of questions to determine the type of headache you’re experiencing and determine the best route for pain relief.

During your first visit, you can expect to undergo some of the following:

  • Tests of your muscle strength and sensation
  • Questions regarding previous injuries to your neck, head, jaw and back
  • Inquiries about the location and types of pain and other symptoms experienced
  • Measurements regarding the range of motion of your shoulders, neck and other relevant parts of the body
  • Manual therapy to ascertain the mobility of joints and muscles in your neck
  • Examination of your posture while engaged in different activities

If your physiotherapist determines that you’re dealing with stress-related headaches, you’ll work together to develop a plan for care to meet your physical health goals. If the evaluation determines a different type of headache, your physiotherapist will likely refer you to a different type of health care professional.

Goals of Physiotherapy

While the end goal of physiotherapy is pain relief, there are some important steps along the way that your physiotherapist will help you address so that you can achieve a decrease in pain.

Some of These Include:

  • Improvement of your posture. Your posture throughout the day greatly impacts your level of pain and likelihood of stress-related headaches. Your physiotherapist will teach you methods of improving your posture for a greater quality of life.
  • Improvement of neck movement. Using manual therapy, your physiotherapist will stretch the muscles in the back of your neck to relieve pain and increase movement.
  • Improvement of strength. You’ll learn exercises to help strengthen the muscles that control your upper back and neck so that your posture improves, and you’re able to endure standing and sitting for longer periods without discomfort.

Pain Relief Methods

While each treatment meets the needs of individuals, most physiotherapists use methods that range from soft tissue mobilization, heat or ice compressions, muscular releases, cervical traction, body mobilization, stretching, strengthening, muscle energy techniques, and McKenzie-based diagnosis and therapy of the spine. With all treatment plans, you can expect to receive education that will supplement your in-office experience.

Persistent and life-altering headaches may not go away without physiotherapy. To experience long-lasting pain relief and improve your quality of life, contact NRG Athletes Physiotherapy Winnipeg, CA today.

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