Treat Migraines and Headaches with Physical Therapy
If you suffer from migraines or other types of headaches, you might benefit from physical therapy (PT) to help alleviate your pain, improve mobility, and manage future migraine attacks.
A physical therapist from Impact Med Zephyrhills can offer treatments that can help improve your mobility and decrease your headache pain after assessing your spine. Here’s how:
Categories of Headaches
Pain that occurs in any area of the head is called a headache. There are many kinds of headaches with many causes.
There are several different categories of headache including:
- Cervicogenic (neck-related headaches)
- Cranial neuralgias and facial pain
- Secondary headaches caused by underlying conditions like fever, sinus disorders, illness, or rarely, a tumor
Most headaches are harmless and generally resolve on their own although many headaches like migraines and cluster headaches recur frequently.
The challenge of treating headaches often lies in determining the type of headache and its cause. Your physical therapist can help determine the type of headache that you are experiencing and help you manage the pain in a variety of ways.
What are Headaches?
Like back pain, headaches are one of the most common and frustrating physical complaints to manage. Headaches are often the result of a neck or jaw problem, poor posture, stress, or fatigue.
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
When you visit a physical therapist at Impact Med Zephyrhills, we will conduct a thorough examination that includes your health history, and we will perform tests to determine the likely cause of your headaches or migraines.
The PT evaluation may include:
- Palpation of your skull and neck
- Range of motion measures of your neck
- Strength tests and measurements
- Postural assessments
There are various treatments that a physical therapist may use to treat your headaches such as the following:
Exercise will be the main tool to treat your headaches and migraines. Exercises such as those that improve neck motion and decrease pressure on the cervical nerves may be prescribed by your physical therapist.
Neck exercises may include:
- Cervical retraction
- Cervical flexion
- Cervical side bending
- Cervical rotation
When performing neck exercises for your headaches, avoid any jerky or sudden movements and move slowly.
If you have a forward head posture (which many of us have due to computer and phone usage) your upper cervical spine and the suboccipital area may be pinching the nerves at the back of your skull. Correcting your posture may be an effective strategy to release these pinched nerves.
Exercises may include:
- Using a lumbar roll
- Using a supportive neck pillow while sleeping
- Find optimal posture with a slouch-overcorrect exercise
Your physical therapist may even use kinesiology tape to help improve your posture and increase your awareness of your neck and back position.
Heat or Ice
To help decrease pain and inflammation, heat or ice may be applied to your neck or skull. Heat can help relax tight muscles and improve overall circulation and can be a beneficial treatment before performing neck stretches and exercises.
If tight muscles are limiting your range of motion in the neck and causing headaches, massage may be recommended to help improve mobility. Suboccipital release, a special massage technique, can be performed to loosen the muscles that attach your neck to your skull, allowing for improved motion and decreased nerve irritation.
Mechanical or manual traction may be used to help decrease the pain from headaches and migraines. Traction helps to decompress your neck’s discs and joints to allow for an improved range of motion in the neck. Your physical therapist might also perform joint mobilizations that help manage your pain and improve your range of motion in your neck.
Electrical stimulation may be used on your neck muscles to help decrease pain and improve migraine and headache symptoms.
Treat Migraines and Headaches at Impact Med Zephyrhills
Don’t let chronic migraines or headaches negatively impact your day-to-day life and call our physical therapy team at Impact Med Zephyrhills! We can create a headache or migraine relief plan that is right for you.
Call Impact Med Zephyrhills for a physical therapy consultation today— (813) 706-5156!