Nearly everyone has occasional headaches, but some people suffer with them chronically. Recurring headaches and migraines can severely limit quality of life. Most people who have frequent headaches are not suffering with an underlying health condition, but rather are experiencing headaches as a side effect of stress, poor sleep habits, overuse of caffeine, or even poor posture. Physical therapy has been shown to help alleviate the frequency and intensity of headaches among many chronic sufferers.
Did you know…
that severe headaches and migraines can affect anyone at any age, but women between the ages of 18 and 44 are most likely to suffer with them chronically? There are three classifications of headaches – cluster, migraine, and tension. Each can be triggered by internal or external factors, such as muscle tension, stress, strong fragrances and consumption of certain foods. A physical therapist will work with patients to help identify to a source of chronic headaches and create a plan for relief.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I visit a physical therapist for headache relief?
If you are suffering from chronic headaches and are looking for a more natural means of treating your pain than over-the-counter medications, you could benefit from physical therapy treatments. Physical therapy is highly effective in the relief of tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck, which are the most common type of headaches in America. In fact, tension headaches can recur on a near daily basis when left untreated.
What should I expect at my appointment?
Your first visit to a physical therapist will include a complete analysis of your symptoms, including the severity and frequency of your headaches. You’ll also answer questions about your family health history, as well as your dietary and sleep habits. Together with your physical therapist, you will work to identify potential headache triggers through a process of elimination.
Your visit may also include physical therapy to correct misalignment to your neck and spine, which also could be contributing to your headaches. By adjusting your back, your physical therapist could relieve stress on your body’s musculoskeletal system. After just a few adjustments, you could experience significant improvement in your headache pain.
Is there anything I can do between appointments to alleviate my headaches?
Yes. Be sure to get plenty of sleep each night and take steps to minimize your stress. Drink plenty of water each day to avoid headache-causing dehydration, and spend time each day stretching and participating in mild to moderate exercise.