Headaches are a special kind of terrible, aren’t they?
While chronic pain of any sort can be difficult to deal with, it can be extra frustrating when that chronic pain is in your head.
But while physical therapy treatments for chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and other types of chronic pain can help, physical therapy also offers treatment for chronic headaches. These treatments are similar, in a way, but unique at the same time, as they’re focused on your head.
If you struggle with chronic headaches, treatments from our Washington DC physical therapist can help.
What Is A Headache?
Broadly speaking, a headache is just what the name suggests – an ache in your head.
There are a number of different types of headaches though, and as many different causes.
Let’s take a look at some of the different types of headaches, and how physical therapy treatments can help.
Physical Therapy Treatments For Tension Headaches
If you have a headache and haven’t been diagnosed with any chronic illness, there’s a good chance you have a tension headache, as they’re the most common type of headache.
Like the name suggests, tension headaches happen when there is tension in your head or neck. These can be caused by stress, fatigue, substance abuse, poor posture, dehydration, and eye strain, among others.
These are common, and usually not a cause for concern. However, if your tension headache lasts for more than 15 days, it might be a chronic headache.
Physical therapy treatments for tension headaches may take a number of different approaches, and may include:
- Electromyography (EMG)
- Stretches and myofascial releases to relieve tension
- Strengthening exercises
- Hot & cold therapy
- Ergonomic recommendations
- Mindfulness practices
- Dry needling
If you struggle with chronic tension headaches, it can make a stressful life even worse. But these are the most common, and most treatable, form of headaches through physical therapy.
Book your appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy today to find out more.
Physical Therapy Treatments For Cluster Headaches
Cluster headaches are headaches that tend to occur in clusters. They come in cycles, with periods of intense pain followed by periods of no headaches.
Those who struggle with cluster headaches often describe them as beginning quite suddenly. But they often begin while you sleep and are painful enough to wake you up. They can begin at any time, though.
When it comes to treatments for cluster headaches, there are a variety of options. Many will opt for pharmaceutical painkillers to help manage the pain.
Evidence shows that medical management can be a great adjunct treatment alongside physical therapy.
Your physical therapist may use one or more of the following physical therapy treatments for cluster headaches.
- Recommendations for physical activity
- Lifestyle recommendations
- Education on where cluster headaches come from
Book your appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy today to find out how we can help you find relief from your cluster headaches.
Physical Therapy Treatments For Migraine Headaches
Migraine headaches are characterized by severe, throbbing pain, usually on one side of your head. They’re considered among the most intense headaches you can experience. They can be so severe, in fact, that they trigger nausea, vomiting, and severe sensitivity to light and sound.
There are a number of different types of migraine, including:
- Hemiplegic migraine
- Basilar migraine
- Vestibular migraine
- Retinal migraine
- Abdominal migraine (most common in children)
Your physical therapist can be a helpful ally in managing your migraines. People will often seek physical therapy alongside pharmaceutical treatments and natural alternatives.
Your treatment will be different based on your health history and which type of migraine you have, but it may include the following treatment options:
- Gentle exercises
- Gentle manual therapy
- Vestibular therapy
- Transcutaneous neuromuscular electrical stimulation (TENS)
- Dry needling
Migraine headaches can be difficult to deal with, but you don’t have to struggle through them alone. We can help.
Book your appointment today with Capitol Physical Therapy to find out how.
Physical Therapy Treatments For Cervicogenic Headaches
You still feel the pain in your head though. This type of pain is called “referred pain” – pain you feel in another type of the body than its origin.
People with cervicogenic headaches tend to describe the pain as dull, steady, pain that doesn’t throb. It’s mostly found at the base of your skull and down between your shoulder blades.
Other symptoms include:
- Reduced neck range of motion
- Stiffness in neck
- Light sensitivity
- Dizziness and trouble with balance
- Difficulty speaking
- Pain only on one side of your face
- Unusual food cravings
- And others
But it’s not just a headache with neck pain. It’s related to an issue in the soft tissue of your neck or your cervical spine. This usually happens as a result of a head or neck injury due to a fall, automobile accident, or sports injury.
Here at Capitol Physical Therapy, we have a clinical interest in treating pain. Your physical therapist will take the time to understand your unique situation, and put together a treatment plan to relieve your pain.
Depending on your physical therapist’s findings, they may recommend techniques geared toward:
- Decreasing your pain
- Ergonomics and other lifestyle adjustments
- Decreasing pressure on your cervical nerve
- Improving range of motion in your neck
- Improving your balance
- Improving your posture
- Among others
If you have cervicogenic headaches, you know how frustrating they can be. But there are physical therapy solutions that can help.
Book your appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy today.
Physical Therapy Treatments For Other Types Of Headaches
There are a number of other types of headaches as well which physical therapy can treat. These include:
- Hypertension headaches
- Post traumatic headaches
- Headaches as a symptom for another condition
- Headaches as a side effect of a medication
But what if you’re not sure what type of headache you have?
Not to worry.
How To Tell What Kind Of Headache You Have
If you’ve been struggling with chronic headaches but you’re not sure what type of headache you have, it can be difficult to figure out. After all, not all of us are health researchers, and trying to figure it out can be, well, a headache.
The good news is that you don’t need to come to Capitol Physical Therapy with a diagnosis in hand in order to get help.
Physical therapists can perform a clinical examination to diagnose what type of headache you have and put together a treatment plan designed to address it.
Do Physical Therapy Treatments For Headaches Work?
Broadly speaking, yes. Every case is of course unique, but physical therapy treatments for headaches have been shown to have a number of positive effects. These include:
- Decrease or eliminate the frequency of headaches
- Decrease or eliminate the intensity of headaches
- Decrease or eliminate the duration of headaches
- Improve mobility
- Improve range of motion in your neck, back, and other affected areas
- Decrease or eliminate dependence on pharmaceutical painkillers
- Improve overall quality of life
Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today
If you struggle with chronic headaches, it can make every aspect of your life more difficult.
But you don’t need to continue to suffer from it. We can help treat the cause and the symptoms.
Book your appointment today with Capitol Physical Therapy, and find out how you can get relief from your chronic headaches.