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It is estimated that the prevalence of headaches are 46% for general headaches, 11% for migraines, 42% for tension headaches, and 36% for chronic headaches. This is one of the reasons headaches are one of the most common reasons people seek physical therapy. They want to have headache relief in order to improve their quality of life. Many headaches can be caused from:

  • Tensions in Head and Neck

  • Post-Traumatic Injuries

  • Whiplash

  • Weakness/Imbalance of Cervical Muscles

  • TMJ Dysfunction

  • Poor Posture

  • Eye Strain

  • Improper Workstation Ergonomics

Some of the common headaches that can be treated by physical therapists are:

Cervicogenic headaches

This type of headache is felt as pain in the head, but is actually referred from the cervical spine. A dysfunction in the musculoskeletal system can cause headache symptoms that can be recurring and long-lasting. The cause can be irritated nerves, tighten muscles, mal-aligned cervical vertebrae, or pressure on the blood vessels.

Tension headaches

This is the most common type of headache and is typically referred to a stress headache. A tension headache can be described as a tightness or pressure around the forehead or back of head and neck. It may be caused from poor posture, inadequate sleep, emotional or mental stress, anxiety, fatigue or overexertion.

Physical therapists are trained to reduce and prevent against headaches, along with any concurrent neck or shoulder pain.

Some of the typical complaints may include

  • Pain at the base of the skull and upper neck

  • Pain behind eyes or temples

  • Pain/burning sensation between shoulder blades

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

  • Fatigue

  • Loss of focus

  • Shoulder tension

At Brookside Physical Therapy, we are able to treat headaches using novel therapies that have been developed through years of experience using a wide variety of techniques. Successful interventions include a thorough evaluation, hands-on treatment, patient education, specific exercises, and frequent reassessment.

The goals of headache rehabilitation are to

  • Reduce pain immediately

  • Decrease headache frequency and intensity

  • Improve posture and awareness of aggravating positions

  • Restore joint mobility

  • Improve myofascial restrictions

  • Retrain/reeducate cervical and scapular stabilizers

  • Restore normal activities

  • Return to work

  • Return to recreation

  • Prevent reoccurrence

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