About 83-93% of the population suffers from headaches throughout their lifetime. Using that statistic, it’s pretty safe to say that you’ve probably had at least one in your life so far- maybe as many as one a day! Headaches can be caused by a large variety of things ranging from tumors, sinus infections, stress, or even vascular issues; But did you know that headaches can also be caused by musculoskeletal conditions?
For example, headaches can be caused by muscle tension, tightness of the neck and upper back, decreased cervical range of motion, cervical disc pathology, and poor posture, all of which can be treated by physical therapy! Problems originating in the neck, head, or even the jaw can cause muscles to tense up and increase pressure on the nerves at the base of your skull. Similarly, stress and poor posture can cause muscles to be fatigued or work harder than they normally would, which can radiate into your head as a headache. So many people approach their primary care physician with complaints of neck pain and also report frequent headaches, and have no idea that those two may be related.
Physical therapy can be extremely effective in treating headaches and some patients even report decreased symptoms after just one visit! Here at CCPT, we can address decreased cervical range of motion as well as tight and tense muscles by using:
Joint mobilization techniques to increase mobility of the cervical and thoracic spine
Soft tissue massage to decrease muscle tension, eliminate muscle knots, and improve flexibility
Cervical traction to alleviate pressure on intervertebral discs
Trigger point release
Skilled exercise prescription to reverse poor posture and increase neck strength
AAT to decrease stress and the “fight or flight” system in your body that may be contributing to your headaches
In addition, we can give you advice on how to set up your desk at work to decrease the tension on your neck and upper back and therefore decrease the amount of headaches you get at work. If you’re having neck pain, experiencing headaches, or simply need advice on posture and how to set up your chair/desk at work, give us a call and schedule a free consult! We’d be happy to help.
Maggie, PT, DPT