How Physical Therapy Can Alleviate Headaches Successfully

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We’ve all experienced a headache from time to time due to stress, lack of sleep, or before we’ve had our morning coffee. However, what happens when a sudden headache becomes a chronic migraine or begins to affect other areas of our everyday life? It’s essential to understand the cause of chronic neck pain or a debilitating headache and when to seek medical intervention. In this blog, we explain how physical therapy can alleviate headaches successfully!

Developing an action plan is the first step toward alleviating severe headache symptoms. Whether you’re dealing with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) or chronic neck pain, consider the following factors before meeting with a physical therapist:

Headache Symptoms

These symptoms, among others, could be indicative of issues occurring in the neck muscles, spine, or even brain. Seek the help of a physical therapist if your headache:

  • causes auras, visible distortions, or flashing/streaking lights
  • alters your vision or creates blind spots
  • continually switches its location
  • gives you the feeling of fainting or passing out
  • changes your sense of taste or smell, which would be a more severe case.

Headache Location

Pinpointing your headache’s location is an important starting point for determining where you’re having issues in the neck. Next time you have a headache, note where it’s occurring, such as in the back of your head, side of your head, or even behind your eye. This simple observation can tell your physical therapist where the problem may originate, such as in the joints, muscles, or nerves of the neck. While this isn’t an exhaustive list of where an issue may reside, it’s a step closer to identifying the cause and alleviating your headache pain.


Internal and External Dysfunctions Causing Your Headache Pain

A headache can be caused by many factors that your physical therapist may characterize as internal or external dysfunctions. Discussing past health problems and injuries is another important factor in developing your plan of attack in relieving your headaches. Examples include:

External Dysfunctions

Muscle tightness, nerve entrapment, malaligned spinal vertebrae, previous concussions

Internal Dysfunctions

Poor circulation, POTS, bowel disorders, mast cell activation disorder, dysautonomia

While a headache may be a minor and mild inconvenience at times, a more severe headache may suggest a more complex and perhaps underlying condition.

If you have any additional questions regarding headaches and how to address them in your physical therapy treatment plan, please contact us directly at any time.

For more educational topics on common pains and conditions our specialized physical therapist can help you with, please visit our 3 Systems Blog and follow us on our social media pages:

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