Can Physical Therapy Really Help Tension Headaches?

When you think of physical therapy, you probably imagine patients with debilitating physical conditions slowly learning to walk again. But physical therapy is a complex field capable of treating many different illnesses, even ones that seem to take place only in your head. If you suffer from frequent tension headaches, you may be surprised to learn that a physical therapist may be able to help in the following four ways. 

Exploring the Connection Between Headaches and Your Muscles

Headaches can be caused by a number of factors, ranging from chemical imbalances to troubles with your vision. Some headaches, however, are caused by muscular tension in your neck and jaw, which can be caused by stress or a physical disorder such as TMJ. The pain you experience in a tension headache is often actually referred pain, or pain that you feel in one area of your body that signals pain in another one. You may, for example, feel pancreatic pain in your back muscles as opposed to the actual organ. Physical therapists work to alleviate the pain where it really originates, solving your headaches in the process. 

Teaching You How to Respond to Headaches

Of course, you can't dash into your therapist's office every time you feel a headache approaching. Instead, your therapist will work with you in regular sessions and also teach you how to respond when you feel an impending headache at home. This can be as simple as icing your neck and shoulders, or you may want to bring in a family member to practice therapeutic massage techniques. Armed with this knowledge, you may be able to minimize the discomfort you feel on a daily basis, improving your overall quality of life quickly. 

Relieving the Physical Causes of Your Headaches

Once you have learned to handle a typical headache, you can focus on the primary culprits. Your physical therapist will explore the root cause of the tension underlying your headaches and then develop a specialized plan of action. Typical treatments include massages, stretches and postural training to take pressure off of your neck and shoulders and strengthen them to prepare for future stresses. Not every type of chronic headache can be treated through physical therapy, but if you have been diagnosed with or suspect you suffer from tension headaches, schedule an examination with your local physical therapist's office to be evaluated. As long as your therapist feels you will benefit from treatment, you can begin mapping out a plan and start combating the root cause of your pain with professional help. Contact a business, such as Dynamic Rehabilitation Services, for more information.