Oklahoma Hand and Physical Therapy

Are Frequent Headaches Controlling Your Life? You Could Find Relief Through Physical Therapy

Have you noticed pain on one side of your head? Do you have tension in the neck that radiates up and leaves you with a nagging headache? There are many different types of headaches and various causes for each of them. Fortunately, the therapists at Oklahoma Hand & PT know how to figure out where your headaches are coming from and the quickest way to get rid of them!

The term “sick headache” might have been coined to describe exactly how you feel today — and every day. A one-off headache encounter can be distressing enough, but frequent or constant headache pain can completely disable you. Many of these headaches have underlying musculoskeletal or biochemical causes — which means that they can be corrected through the right forms of treatment in physical therapy!

Call Oklahoma Hand & PT in Tulsa, OK today to find out the true reason for your headache pain, and to discuss treatment options with a skilled physical therapist.

Understanding the reasons for headaches

What is a headache, beyond the simple definition of a pain in the head? There are actually several categories of headaches, each with its own distinct causes and symptoms.

Tension headaches are the most common type of chronic headache for most people. Emotional tension can initiate or intensify a tension headache, but the primary mechanism is physical tension in the neck muscles.

Neck muscles that are tight or stressed might spasm. The tugging movement that occurs when spasms overpower particular small muscles around the base of the skull irritates the dura mater. The dura mater then reacts by flooding your brain with an aching or hammering sensation.

Weak or underdeveloped neck muscles may be naturally vulnerable to tightness and spasms. Accident injuries (including whiplash) can push the skull off-center in relation to the neck, subjecting the neck muscles to abnormal stresses. (A headache that specifically involves the upper cervical spine is termed a cervicogenic headache.)

Even routine postural problems can cause neck strain and tension headaches. For instance, if you stare down at your smartphone for hours each day, you can develop a painful problem known as “text neck,” which promotes headaches.

Other kinds of headaches, while less common, can prove even more debilitating. Cluster headaches are a prime example. These intense headaches strike one side of your face in clusters of attacks. These headaches have been associated with cervical spinal abnormalities.

Migraines are even more notorious for causing nausea, light/sound sensitivity, faintness, and vision problems on top of brutal headaches. Migraines sometimes occur as a complication of concussions; they are also triggered by exposure to specific stimuli such as lights, sounds, or foods.

Physical therapy can help you fight back against headache pain with myofascial release

If you live with headaches or migraines, you know how painful and debilitating they can be. Attacks are usually characterized by painful throbbing or pulsing on one side of the head, which can also be accompanied by changes in vision, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, or sensitivity to sound.

Myofascial release therapy is one way physical therapists can help relieve your pain. When the muscles around your neck become tight, your mobility of the affected area becomes restricted, and any movements you make can result in pain. Myofascial release reverses this sensation by loosening up the constricted space, thus promoting more effortless mobility and less pain.

This targeted form of treatment has been known to relieve the pain of chronic headaches and migraines by massaging the tightened muscles around the head and neck and promoting a quicker healing process.

Getting to the root of the problem…

Our physical therapist can help you get to the bottom of your headache problem. If your headache is cervicogenic in nature, we may need to work on your neck.

For instance:

  • Corrective exercises and postural/ergonomic changes can help you steer clear of “text neck” and other occupational headache triggers.
  • If your migraines are the result of a recent concussion, a carefully-administered course of physical therapy can help you recuperate from that concussion more quickly.
  • Exercises that strengthen and loosen your neck muscles can help to ease the stresses that set off your headaches.
  • Chiropractic adjustment can correct skeletal misalignment issues that place your neck muscles under unnatural strain. These adjustments can also help to reduce cluster headache attacks.
  • Laser and massage therapy can relax tight neck tissues and speed recovery to injured muscles.

Our physical therapist can help you identify other migraine triggers and suggest strategies for avoiding them in your everyday life.

Call us today; give physical therapy a shot

There is relief available to you if you know where to look. You’re not doomed to go through life plagued by frequent headaches. If you’re ready to free yourself from this burden, give physical therapy a try. Contact Oklahoma Hand & PT in Tulsa, OK to set up an appointment with one of our skilled and knowledgeable physical therapists today to learn more about our headache treatment options!