Are Headaches Hitting The Brakes on Life?

Headaches are one of the leading causes of disability and missed work in adults!


At home, headaches stop you from playing with your kids, enjoying time with family and friends, or going to exercise. At work, it can cause missed meetings, missed deadlines, missed days. In the end you spend hours unproductive, using up valuable PTO, and ruining your free time.


There are medications and other medical treatments you can get from the doctor that help treat headaches when they start. However, many of these treatments from your doctor are just for symptom management. They don’t treat the cause of headaches or migraines. Wouldn't it be better if you knew why attacks happened in the first place and how to stop them before they even start?


Nearly 80% chronic headache and migraine sufferers have neck pain that is associated with attacks. Furthermore, research has shown that musculoskeletal impairments, such as reduced range of motion of the neck, are common in those with headaches and migraines. Many structures of the neck, face/jaw, and head can trigger attacks. All of these impairments of the musculoskeletal system can be treated by a physical therapist.


Research has demonstrated a variety of benefits of physical therapy in treating headaches and migraines. Physical therapy has been shown to:

  1. Decrease the intensity of headaches/migraines,

  2. Decrease frequency and duration of attacks

  3. Decrease medication use

  4. Improve function

But what can a physical therapist actually do to help with headaches?


As a skilled clinician who specializes in headaches and migraines, I use a mix of manual therapy techniques, stretching of the neck and back muscles, and strengthening neck stabilizers to treat headaches. Occasionally, there may be involvement of the jaw or eyes that need specific interventions to decrease headache pain.


Not all programs will be the same for each person with headaches or migraines. There are many types of headaches, and many structures that can be involved in pain generation. A one-size-fits-all program just won’t fix it.

I perform a comprehensive examination to identify your specific impairments and triggers of headaches/migraines to develop a plan of care specific only to you. With the best treatments for your problems, we can achieve results for your headaches by improving muscle function, increasing range of motion of your neck, improving strength of neck stabilizers, and decreasing trigger point sensitivity. A life fewer disabling headaches is possible.


Are you ready to start attacking your headaches and gain control back in your life? Or do you want more information to see if treatments are right for you? Please contact me by phone or email!


References:

  1. Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990–2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019 Vos, Theo et al. The Lancet, Volume 396, Issue 10258, 1204 - 1222

  2. Ashina S, Bendtsen L, Lyngberg AC, Lipton RB, Hajiyeva N, Jensen R. Prevalence of neck pain in migraine and tension-type headache: a population study. Cephalalgia. 2015 Mar;35(3):211-9.

  3. Liang Z, Galea O, Thomas L, Jull G, Treleaven J. Cervical musculoskeletal impairments in migraine and tension type headache: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Musculoskelet Sci Pract. 2019 Jul;42:67-83

  4. Victoria Espí-López G, Arnal-Gómez A, Arbós-Berenguer T, González ÁAL, Vicente-Herrero T. Effectiveness of Physical Therapy in Patients with Tension-type Headache: Literature Review. J Jpn Phys Ther Assoc. 2014;17(1):31-38. doi:10.1298/jjpta.Vol17_005

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