Treating Chronic Headaches with Physical Therapy

Relieve Chronic Headaches with Physical Therapy Jun8th 2022

Migraines and persistent, chronic headaches can severely limit your quality of life and comfort.  There are many factors that can contribute to this ailment.  From injuries and trauma, to repetitive movements, to certain physical conditions, a physical therapist can help you identify the causes, and more importantly a treatment plan to alleviate this pain.

Types of Chronic Headaches

Chronic headaches are typically identified three distinct diagnoses.  The specific causes of the headache determine its classification.  Tension headaches occur with there is a strain on the sensitive membrane that envelops the brain, called the “dura mater”.  When the small muscles at the base of the skull spasm due to this strain it sends pain signals to the brain.  Tension headaches can be caused by poor posture or repetitive movement of the head and neck.

Musculoskeletal headaches are brought on by severe or traumatic neck injuries, like whiplash.  When the connective tissues and muscles in the neck are torn or strained from these experiences it creates severe pain in the shoulders, face, neck, and head.

Cervicogenic headaches are caused constant and consistent down-turned motion of the neck or head.  The pain caused by this type of headache revolves around the top three vertebrae in the neck.  Work-related strain, arthritis, and concussions can all trigger a cervicogenic headache. 

Physical Therapy Benefits for Treating Chronic Headaches

Physical therapy can be a very effective method for treating and relieving the pain from chronic headaches.  At Evolve Physical Therapy in Baton Rouge, we are dedicated to providing you with the best treatments for your headaches. At your initial appointment, one of our highly trained physical therapists will conduct a physical evaluation and ask you questions about your health history and symptoms , in order to determine what type of headache you are experiencing and where the pain is stemming from. A treatment plan will then be designed specifically for you and your recovery, most likely involving targeted exercises, manual therapy, and patient education to help reduce the number of headaches you end up experiencing in the future.

Manual Therapy for Chronic Headaches

With hands-on techniques muscle stiffness and joint pain can be relieved, increasing mobility in the neck, shoulders, and head.  With reduced muscled tension and spasms, headaches and their corresponding pain can be alleviated.  Dry needling and spinal manipulations can be very effective as well for limiting spasms and improving flexibility and movement.

Kinetic Knowledge to Prevent Chronic Headaches

Understanding what causes your specific type of headaches is an important place to start when learning how to reduce or prevent their impact on your life.  Recognizing what triggers these pains is the first step in mitigating headaches.  From diet and hydration to sleep and posture habits to professional and personal stressors, there can be many things that force your body tighten up and create tension near the head, neck, and shoulders.    

Exercise Therapy to Prevent Chronic Headaches

There are certain exercises that you can do to strengthen and enhance the endurance of the muscles in the part of your body that are causing your headaches.  Strategically designed exercise and fitness regimens are an essential part of the treatment plan that your physical therapist will customize for you.

If chronic headaches or other pain is keeping from doing the things that you love, a physical therapist can help you find the best treatment plan.  The expert staff at Evolve Physical Therapy in Baton Rouge can asses the cause of your headaches and effectively treat the symptoms.

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