How often do you experience a nagging ache, stabbing pain, or intense pressure
in your head?
An estimated 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches and many of these people
are retreating from their daily lives due to pain. Others are trying to manage day to day on
the aspirin diet.
How about we find a better, faster, and more permanent solution?
First, let’s talk about the three most common types of headaches and then I’ll show you the plan.
Migraines: These headaches are described as intense, throbbing or pulsing pain. They worsen
with movement, include light sensitivity, and are sometimes preceded by an Aura or tunnel vision.
They generally last 4-72 hours, but the frequent re occurrence of these headaches are what results
in chronic disability.
Cervicogenic Headaches: This pain is usually just on one side and begins in the shoulder and neck
then spreading into the head. The pain is aggravated by movement and position changes and there
is often tenderness to touch in the neck and upper shoulders.
Tension Headaches: Triggered by stress, fatigue, anger, or muscle tightness these types of headaches
are experienced on both sides of the head. They are described as pressing or tightness they can last as
little as 30 minutes or feel almost continuous.
In these three categories, ¾ of the complaints are related to muscle tightness and joint stiffness putting
pressure on the nerves in the neck. They are caused by muscle tension, spasm, and trigger points in
the scalp, jaw, neck, and shoulders. This pain can even radiate down the arm and into the hand resulting
in a misdiagnosis of carpel tunnel syndrome. There is a lot we can to do in both treatment and prevention
to avoid side effects of or dependence on prescription medication.
Prevention of these headaches lies in avoiding their causes including:
- slouching or poor posture
- sitting too long
- jaw clenching
- sleeping on your stomach
What if a headache has already started?
It can often be lessened with exercise and stretching of the neck and shoulders.
A physical therapist can instruct you in properly performing the following
- Chin tucks
- rotation with pressure
- cervical side bending
- Upper trapezius stretch
- Levator Scapula stretch
If these suggestions do not help, do not give up.
A 2002 article in Spine demonstrated a significant decrease in headache frequency, intensity, neck pain, and
analgesic use following manual physical therapy interventions compared to a control group. Whether
headaches are an acute problem or chronic issue for you, don’t put off your life due to another headache.
We would be happy to discuss further treatment including manual therapy techniques to stretch the muscles
and improve movement of the joints that cause headaches. In addition, we can work with you to prevent
headaches through simple changes in your posture and lifestyle.
Send me an e-mail for a more detailed explanation or pictures
of the stretches above firstname.lastname@example.org