For most of us, headaches are an occasional nuisance and a problem that can be resolved simply by ensuring we are properly hydrated and perhaps, taking a couple of over the counter painkillers. However, for many, headache and migraine can be debilitating – painful, recurrent episodes that affect the quality of life and lead to lost working days.
The good news is that the Physiotherapy team at Focal Allied Health can provide you with a treatment plan. For most people suffering from headaches, treatment brings relief from symptoms and reduces the likelihood and severity of future recurrences.
The Common Causes of Headache
Headaches are most commonly caused by musculoskeletal problems, muscular tension and tightness in the head, neck and upper back.
Postural problems can also be an issue. Forward head posture can cause hugely increased stresses on the neck, resulting in pain and headache. This postural problem is often due to incorrect workplace ergonomics and by spending long periods using tablet computers, mobile phones or playing computer games.
Stress and tension at home, and at work can result in tight muscles in the neck and in jaw clenching. For some, the problem is so bad that they grind their teeth during sleep. Sometimes patients are diagnosed with TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction). Holding tension in the jaw like this is not only bad for the teeth – it can also be a major cause of headaches.
Tension headaches that feel like a tight band around the head, causing pain in the forehead, temple and at the top of the neck at the back of the head are caused by either, stress and tension, forward head posture or weakness in the neck muscles – or a combination of these problems.
Cervicogenic headaches originate from the neck and usually manifest as a one-sided headache that begins in the neck or at the back of the head. The radiating pain can affect the eye on the affected side and cause pain in the temples and front of the head. Sufferers may also experience feelings of vertigo, dizziness, feeling sick and visual disturbances. Cervicogenic headaches are common after an injury but can also present in those with biomechanical joint problems affecting the neck.
Our Holistic Approach Can Help
Physiotherapy and deep tissue massage can both be very effective at relaxing and releasing the tight muscles causing tension headaches. In the case of cervicogenic headaches, gentle adjustments and mobilisations can loosen stiff joints and correct any misalignment.
Physiotherapy alone, or in combination with massage, and specifically targeted treatments such as gentle exercise such as Clinical Pilates can produce dramatic results for patients with recurrent headaches. In addition, our holistic approach includes help and advice on posture, nutritional supplementation and diet.