Physical Therapy For Headaches

Physical Therapy For Headaches

June 4, 2024

Headaches are one of the most common forms of pain and most people will experience headaches at some point in their lives. The main symptom of headaches is pain in the head and face. Headaches can range from annoying to debilitating, but no matter the severity, many individuals have struggled to find a long term solution for headache management. 

The most common types of headaches include:

  • Tension headaches

  • Cervicogenic headaches

  • Migraine and cluster headaches

  • Cranial neuralgias, facial pain, and other headaches

  • Secondary headaches from an underlying condition, such as fever, infectious disease, sinus disorder, or in rare cases, a tumor or more serious illness

Your doctor of physical therapy can screen for other serious conditions and can assess what structures may be contributing to your headaches to ensure that you are appropriate for physical therapy intervention.

When it comes to treating headaches, physical therapy has been proven to:

  • Decrease or resolve the intensity, frequency, and duration of headaches

  • Decrease medication use

  • Improve function and mobility

  • Improve ease of motion in the neck

  • Improve quality of life

Physical therapy treatment for headaches includes:

  • Manual (hands-on) therapy, which can:

    • Relieve joint and muscle tightness

    • Increase mobility of the head and neck

    • Decrease muscle tension and spasms

    • Improve muscle performance

    • Decrease inflammation 

    • Include the following treatment techniques:

      • Manual stretching

      • Soft tissue mobilization

      • Dry needling

      • Cupping

      • Joint mobilization

  • Stretches and exercises (including a customized home exercise program), which can:

    • Decrease pain

    • Improve muscle endurance

    • Decrease inflammation

    • Promote overall healing

    • Improve muscle performance 

  • Education, which can include:

    • How to identify and modify specific headache triggers (such as diet, sleep, postural habits, stressors, hydration, etc)

    • Relaxation techniques

At Elite Muscle Recovery, we spend an hour performing a one-on-one evaluation to ensure we know what structures and factors are contributing to your headaches. From there, we make a specialized and personalized plan of care to address all of the impairments and external factors that can be causing/contributing to headaches. Don’t suffer from headaches any longer… call or text us today for an evaluation!