Oklahoma Hand and Physical Therapy

Dealing With Stress-Related Headaches? Here are 3 Ways Physical Therapy Can Help!

Don’t Let Chronic Headaches Get In The Way Anymore.

Did you know that headaches are the third most common pain complaint? It’s true. Headaches are extremely common and can be so debilitating to the point that they impact a person’s quality of life. Dealing with headaches on a daily alone can be very isolating and leave a person feeling exhausted.

Fortunately, through physical therapy, long-term relief is possible. A trained physical therapist can help you achieve immediate pain relief from stress-related headaches as well as any other pain conditions or ailments that may be contributing to your discomfort. Below we have outlined the different types of headaches and the causes for them, and explain how physical therapy can help.

Types of Headaches

Most people experience headaches as they grow older. Many headaches go away on their own and don’t need medical intervention. However, severe headaches that recur frequently and interfere with the quality of life often demand attention from a professional.

First, you must identify the type of headache you’re experiencing. Then from there, a comprehensive treatment plan can be created according to your specific needs for pain relief. Physical therapists are skilled at diagnosing different types of headaches and can develop simple strategies for pain relief from stress-related headaches.

Below are 10 common types of headaches, according to Healthline.

  • Cluster
  • Hormone
  • Caffeine
  • Migraine or sinus
  • Stress (tension)
  • Post-traumatic
  • Exertion
  • Rebound
  • Hypertension

If you’re unsure what kind of headache you’re experiencing, no problem! Your physical therapist will be able to diagnose and treat it accordingly.

What Are Tension Headaches?

Tension headaches often appear as a result of high-stress levels, poor posture, neck or jaw problems, fatigue, or arthritis. It’s also possible to experience them when feeling anxious or depressed.

Tension headaches occur when the neck and scalp muscles contract or become tense, and people can start experiencing them at any age, although they’re the most common type of headache in adults and older teens.

Stress-related headaches generally start at the back of the head and progress to the top of the head and eyes. Sometimes, you may even feel pain on your face along your jaw and cheeks when experiencing this kind of headache. Many people have compared this type of pain to wearing a tight hat, having their hair tightly pulled back, or having their head squeezed.

How Can a Physical Therapist Help Reduce Stress-Related Headache Pain?

A licensed physical therapist can conduct a complete physical exam of your body and condition, as well as ask you the appropriate questions regarding your health history. He or she will be able to figure out what type of headache you’re experiencing and determine the best way to combat it and bring much-needed pain relief.

During your first visit, you can expect most of the following:

  • Manual therapy to ascertain the mobility of joints and muscles in your neck
  • Examination of your posture while engaged in different activities
  • Tests of your muscle strength
  • Questions regarding previous injuries to your back, jaw, and head areas
  • Questions about the types of pain symptoms experienced
  • Measurements regarding the range of motion of your shoulders, neck and other relevant parts of the body

Depending on whether your physical therapist determines that you’re dealing with stress-related headaches, you will begin to work together to create a care plan that will successfully meet your physical health goals. If your physical therapist’s evaluation determines a different type of headache, he or she will likely refer you to a different type of healthcare professional for treatment.

3 Improvements Physical Therapy Can Make To Reduce Headaches

Although the end goal of physical therapy is pain relief, there are some critical things along the way that your physical therapist will help you address so that you can achieve a decrease in pain.

Some of These Include:

  1. Posture improvement. How your posture is held during the day significantly impacts your pain levels and the likelihood of experiencing a stress-related headache. Your physical therapist will teach you how to improve your posture for a greater quality of life.
  2. Adjusting the way your neck moves. Your physical therapist can use manual therapy to stretch muscles in your neck to relieve pain and increase range of motion.
  3. Improved strength and muscle ability. You’ll learn exercises to help strengthen the muscles that control your upper back and neck. This way your posture will improve, and you’ll be able to sit or stand for long periods without experiencing pain and discomfort.

Methods of Pain Relief

Every individual’s treatment plan is different, but many physical therapists use a lot of the same methods. A few examples are soft tissue mobilization, heat or ice compressions, muscular releases, cervical traction, body mobilization, stretching, strengthening, muscle energy techniques, and McKenzie-based diagnosis and therapy of the spine.

With all treatment plans, you can expect to receive information that will supplement your in-office experience. This way you’ll be able to continue strengthening your muscles at home on your own and speed up your recovery time!

Contact Our Office Today

There’s no reason you need to continue living in constant pain and discomfort with so many treatment options available to you. Contact Oklahoma Hand & Physical Therapy today to experience long-lasting pain relief from stress-related headaches and improve your quality of life!