A headache can hit at any time and can present as a lingering distraction that won’t let you focus, or an entirely debilitating condition that can last for hours. While there is no magical formula to tackle the symptoms of a headache, physiotherapy treatments can go a long way to help ease the pain and get you back on track in the long term.
WHAT HEADACHE TYPE ARE YOU BATTLING?
The most common headache symptoms can include throbbing, dizziness, poor vision and heightened sensitivity to noise and light. Understanding the source of your headache is vital to forming a plan of action. The treatment of musculoskeletal-related headaches will significantly differ from headaches relating to your blood vessels.
Migraines often manifest on one side of the head, are recurrent and prolonged and are accompanied by nausea and auras.
Cluster headaches involve severe throbbing on the side of the face and red and teary eyes.
Tension headaches are accompanied by limited movement of the neck and distorted or irritated joint structures. Tension headaches mainly result from back muscles that spasm, or postural dysfunction which leads to muscle tightening.
Seeing how vastly different these symptoms are, it is easy to understand the importance of accurately diagnose and treating your headache ‘type’.
HOW CAN A PHYSIOTHERAPIST HELP?
Physiotherapists don’t just treat the symptoms of a headache, they will explore the source and prepare a long-term management plan.
Some types of headaches are treatable with physiotherapy, while the tension headache is the most common one, these include musculoskeletal headaches.
Here are a few treatments that your physiotherapist may use to manage your headaches:
Joint mobilisation or joint traction in order to loosen or unlock stiff neck joints.
Stretching, acupuncture, massaging, dry needling are all relaxing techniques for tight or overactive structures in the neck.
Relieving postural tension through posture awareness and correction using taping or alternatively remedial massage.
Lifestyle advice to encourage healthy choices and appropriate exercise.
Deep neck muscle strengthening exercises to stabilise, control and limit hypermobile joint movement.
Manual Therapy which may include a range of exercises, frequent remedial massage or acupuncture on the upper neck to relieve muscular tension.
A plan for home including stretching, strengthening and gait awareness to improve muscle control and balance.
Relief might be closer than you think
Do you suffer from chronic headaches? Are you looking for a long-term, effective treatment of headaches that doesn’t involve painkillers? Make an appointment with Jonathan Bastin at Fairfield Physiotherapy to have the source of your headache diagnosed and managed with appropriate treatment.