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Get Rid of Headaches with Physical Therapy

Headaches are no joke – while a mild headache may just be a nuisance, serious headaches can leave victims debilitated and desperately searching for a way to get rid of headaches. Headaches affect 47% of the global population and are described by the type and location of pain in the head. Many headaches are harmless and resolve gradually. However, more frequent, moderate to severe headaches can impact your ability to function and quality of life.

Different types of headaches include:

  • Tension
  • Cervicogenic or neck muscle-related
  • Migraine
  • Secondary headaches from an underlying condition (fever, disease, sinus infection, or more serious illness)
  • Unspecified headaches

Please note: If your headache is accompanied by other possible symptoms of COVID-19 such as cough, shortness of breath, fever, sudden loss of taste or smell, etc. please contact your medical provider immediately. 

Physical therapy isn’t always necessary to get rid of headaches. However, if your headaches seem to be chronic or especially debilitating, working with a physical therapist can help get to the root of your problem. To help you get rid of headaches, a physical therapist will perform a clinical examination to diagnose the type of headache and develop an effective treatment plan. Physical therapy has been proven to:

  • Decrease or resolve the intensity, frequency, and duration of headaches
  • Decreased medication use
  • Improve function and mobility
  • Improve ease of motion in the neck
  • Improve the patient’s quality of life

A physical therapist’s treatment plan to get rid of headaches may include:

Manual Therapy

Manual physical therapy is the hands-on treatment you might expect from seeing physical therapists or chiropractors in movies – the manual adjustment of parts of your body to reduce pain and inflammation. Proven hands-on techniques are designed to alleviate joint and muscle stiffness, increase the mobility of the head and neck, decrease muscle tension and spasms, and improve muscle performance.

Exercise

Older white male exercises on treadmill to get rid of headaches with PT supervision

Research has shown that various types of specific exercises will decrease pain, improve endurance, decrease inflammation, and promote overall healing. In addition to individualized prescribed exercises, customized home-exercise programs are often an essential part of a patient’s treatment plan.

Education

Mother and daughter preparing nutritious food to get rid of headaches through diet

Educational strategies have been found helpful at lessening the severity and/or frequency of headaches. These strategies include identifying highly individualized triggers (i.e. dietary, sleep, movement/postural habits, stressors, hydration). Effective strategies to alleviate symptoms may also include a wide variety of relaxation techniques.

Next Steps

If you’ve been suffering from headaches or trying in vain to get rid of headaches, don’t panic. Get plenty of rest, make sure you are hydrated, and perform some degree of physical activity to get your body moving, such as a short walk. If that fails, or headaches persist over time, reach out to one of our expert physical therapists to work on your personalized treatment plan and get started with manual physical therapy.

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