Physiotherapy can be used for an incredible amount of aches and pains that we experience, and not just muscle and joint pain! Physiotherapy is a successful treatment for the most common type of a headache, cervicogenic headaches. The primary cause of this type of a headache is stiff joints in the upper neck, which really get a workout in the modern world. How many of us sit with our heads tilted down, staring at our phones during our commute, on our lunch hour, and when we’re home sitting in front of the television. It’s a pervasive problem and it, more than eyestrain, is leading to headaches.
The good news is that it is treatable, especially if you’re willing to give up tilting your head down at an awkward angle to stare at your phone. Even if your headaches are not severe or debilitating, there is a good chance that joint pain is their main cause. When joints are healthy, they can glide smoothly without any pain. When joints in the upper neck are stiff, there are a lot of different headache symptoms that can result.
These symptoms include:
- Dull ache
- Slow onset without any triggers
- Stiffness in the neck
- Pain worse on one side
- Ease of pain when pressure applied to the back of the neck
- Pain present for a long period
- Restricted movement
- Pain comes from the back of the head to the front
The biggest factors in getting these kinds of headaches are poor posture, muscle imbalances, stiffness, and previous injuries – such as whiplash or a sports injury.
So how does a physiotherapist help you reduce your headaches?
Obviously, if the cause of the pain is posture, then you will need to adjust your lifestyle and work to improve your posture on a daily basis so that you can avoid headaches moving forward. That does not mean there aren’t things you can do to help you achieve relief, now.
One thing that can be done is called joint mobilization, which is when a physiotherapist works with you to restore your full range of motion without pain. This is done through stretching and strengthening. Two stretches that are great for relieving neck strain are a seated neck release and a seated clasping neck stretch. A physiotherapist can take you through these stretches and teach you how to do them properly and safely.
The other part of joint mobilization is strengthening. This is related to fixing your posture an the building up of neck and back muscles that support your neck.
Another way that a physiotherapist can help is by doing massage and trigger point release. By massaging the trigger points, a physiotherapist can help your muscles release and relax. Acupuncture may also be an option for you to help alleviate headaches.
There is no reason to live with headaches when there is help out there to fix the problem for good. At Back2Normal we understand that headaches can be debilitating, and want to help you live a pain-free life. Call us or come in and we will help you get your headaches, and other aches and pains, under control.