Who Needs the Headache?: Physical Therapy & Headache Relief
All too often we see patients come to us with complaints of headaches that are stemming from the base of their skull and projecting to the orbital region. This is a classic cervicogenic headache, which is a real pain in the neck (pun intended). Patients who suffer from this typically lack range of motion in their neck, and have tenderness and pain when pressing on the upper neck region. This type of headache can be the result of poor ergonomics, work station set up, sleeping position, pillow selection, decreased neck range of motion, or poor posture.
Similarly, we see a lot of patients with tension headaches. These headaches present with pain in the shoulders and neck, and patients complain of a band-like pain across their forehead. Tension headaches are often stress induced, with accompanying muscle spasms. The root cause of tension headaches can be similar to that of cervicogenic headaches, but they are also related to stress, diet, and fatigue/lack of sleep.
At Sarrica Physical Therapy & Wellness, we focus on treating headaches with manual therapy techniques. The suboccipital, upper trapezius, and scalene muscles are most often the culprits, in addition to the restricted joints in the neck. These muscles and joints can be released with specific joint mobilization and myofascial release techniques. We introduce postural re-education, stretching exercises, and pain science education to complement the hands on techniques that we perform.
We also help you to make modifications to your work or home environment. Many of our patients don’t recognize that their sitting or sleeping positions are contributing to their headaches. A thorough evaluation will be completed to determine the cause of your headaches, and an individualized plan of care will be developed.
Paul Nasri, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Sarrica Physical Therapy & Wellness
Staff Physical Therapist