Headaches afflict millions of people each day with varying levels of severity. Many people believe that headaches are an inconvenient, but regular part of life. Fortunately, this does not have to be true. Physiotherapy for headaches can help prevent the common causes of headaches and provide relief to those who suffer from non-severe and severe headaches alike.
Common Causes of Headaches
The most common type of headache is cervicogenic, being sourced from the neck. A vascular headache is less common and includes headache types like migraines.
Cervicogenic headaches can be felt in the head, jaw, forehead, ears, and behind the eyes. The pain is caused by a damaged or stressed neck structure. This damage and stress can be caused by prolonged use, incorrect posture, or a traumatic injury.
Some common causes of cervicogenic headaches are:
- poor posture
- neck and upper back stiffness
- muscle tightness, weakness, or imbalance
- neck or upper back trauma (like whiplash)
- poor ergonomics at work or when sleeping
- a sedentary lifestyle
Physiotherapy Treatment for Headaches
Physiotherapy for headaches can provide treatment and relief for those who suffer. Physiotherapists look for the underlying structural cause or contributing factors to headaches and focus treatment on that area. It could be a specific neck joint, a spasm in a small muscle or muscle group in the face or neck, or an issue with mobilization and flexibility in muscles.
The most common physiotherapy treatments for headaches include:
- gentle manual mobilization of joints and muscles in the upper neck and back
- stretching and strengthening
- soft tissue massage techniques
- postural correction and core neck retraining
Physiotherapy for headaches can produce long lasting or even permanent results if the root of the problem is fully addressed and fixed. If a cervicogenic headache is mild or recent in onset, you could be pain-free within a few days. If there is a deeper or more traumatic source of pain, treatment will likely need to be longer in duration. A patient may need to perform exercises at home to maintain the improvement and muscle or joint flexibility and strength.
Physiotherapy for Migraines
Migraines are not classified as cervicogenic headaches; they are a type of vascular headache. Although the cause of migraines is not yet well understood, it is an issue stemming from the nervous system and not muscles or joints. This means that many methods of physiotherapy for migraines may not be effective for some patients. Some people find migraine relief through physiotherapy treatments like tissue manipulation and acupuncture. The best way to find out if physiotherapy for migraines will work for you is to visit a physiotherapist and try different methods.
Physio Art provides physiotherapy for headaches for those who are severe sufferers, regular sufferers, or those who just experience the occasional headaches. We can help identify the causes of headaches and provide treatment options to prevent or eliminate them in the future.
Contact Physio Art today!