Headaches Getting You Down? Physical Therapy Can Help
Did You Know You Can Find Headache and Migraine Relief with Physical Therapy?
Dr. Ujjwal Shakya, Physical Therapist of MMA & Sports Rehab in Arlington, VA is thrilled when he can treat patients for painful, chronic headaches and provide them with the relief they desperately seek. Approximately 80-90% of people across the U.S. endure occasional or frequent tension headaches – so you are not alone. In fact, headaches are the third most commonly reported source of pain across the world. Because headaches can be caused by a variety of factors, it’s important to note Dr. Shakya can treat those caused by musculoskeletal issues including muscle tension/tightness/spasm, cervical, occipital neuralgia, lack of neck motion, poorly functioning joints, disc pathology, postural dysfunction, and even tightness in the back between the shoulder blades. Many patients who report neck pain symptoms also frequently report headaches, and most are unaware the two may be related.
While physical therapy isn’t normally someone’s first thought when they have a headache, it can really help. Most of the time, the common reaction is to take some form of pain-relieving medication. This may help to relieve pain in the short-term, but if you are constantly suffering from headaches or migraines, pain relief drugs will not provide you with the same long-term effects that physical therapy will. The scientific article by Dr. Page on cervicogenic headache published on the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy Journal (2011) suggests that the combination of specific manual therapy treatments along with therapeutic exercises helps to improve the headaches.
A greater majority of headaches are attributed to cervicogenic headaches, meaning that they are related to the neck in some form.
Poor posture, stress, and other factors can contribute to weakness, strain, and injury to the neck muscles and joints. This pain radiates up into the scalp, side of the head, and even the forehead, depending on the area of the neck involved.
If you are in Alexandria, Washington DC, Falls Church, Springfield, or Arlington, VA and suffer from headaches, don’t hesitate to contact us. Whether they are acute and temporary or constant and chronic (such as migraines), headaches can all be treated with physical therapy at MMA & Sports Rehab. Request your appointment today!
Do you have one of these headaches?
When someone comes to Dr. Ujjwal with reports of frequent headaches, a thorough physical therapy evaluation is performed to isolate and identify the underlying structures and tissues in a lesion which are contributing to or causing the pain. If it is determined that the headaches are most likely originating from the neck or surrounding areas, several physical therapy treatment methods may be used. Treatments for pain relief may include trigger point dry needling, IASTM, a light application of pressure or manipulation, soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, cervical traction, neuro-muscular myofascial release, muscle energy techniques, stretching and/or strengthening. There is no “one-size fits all” solution as each patient is treated on a case by case basis, since the origin of each headache may come from a unique root cause.
Many people may not know this, but there are actually different types of headaches that all develop from different causes. The three main types of headaches include:
The most common form of headaches is known as tension headaches. These can occur due to repetitive motions or poor posture in the neck/head. Tension headaches are caused by a strain on the “dura mater,” which is a sensitive membrane that envelops the brain. The dura mater lies in close proximity to small muscles at the base of the skull that goes into spasm when the dura mater becomes strained, thus sending pain signals to the brain and causing your headache.
Musculoskeletal headaches occur when there are significant amounts of tension in the neck. This is typically a result of physical imbalances, weaknesses, or damage, although emotional tension (such as stress) can also be a contributing factor. A traumatic injury to the neck, such as whiplash, is a common cause of musculoskeletal headaches. With neck injuries such as whiplash, the muscles and connective tissues in the neck can become torn or strained. This can lead to agonizing pain felt in the head, as well as in the face, shoulders, or neck.
Cervicogenic headaches are related to neck pain, involving the top three vertebrae of the neck. These headaches can develop as a result of certain conditions, such as a concussion or arthritis, but work-related strain can also trigger a cervicogenic headache. Professions that require a down-turned motion of the head or neck are the most prone to developing cervicogenic headaches. This may include hairdressers, long-haul drivers, chefs, nail artists, jewelers, etc.
How will I benefit from physical therapy?
Physical Therapist, Dr. Shakya, (who holds a double doctorate in Manual and Physical Therapy) prides himself in the effectiveness of his treatments. While some patients who come to his Arlington, VA practice with a headache may require a few weeks of physical therapy to address a range of motion and strengthening issues, many patients are able to leave the first appointment without any pain.
If you are suffering from headaches, contact our Arlington, VA physical therapy office today. At MMA & Sports Rehab, we are dedicated to providing you with the best treatments for your headaches.
Don’t wait another day– get help with your headache today. As headache pain decreases, life becomes easier. Daily activities become enjoyable again. The range of motion is often restored. Physical activity and alternative exercise can be resumed without pain. Recommendations for alleviating pain and home-based exercises are provided to avoid further injury.
A treatment plan will then be designed specifically for you and your recovery.
Ready to find relief?
At MMA & Sports Rehab, our treatments for headaches focus on relieving pain, improving posture, and strengthening muscles in the neck and upper back.
These will all help in making your daily life much more comfortable and bearable – without the pain of headaches!