Physical Therapy and Headaches

Physical therapy is a medical discipline which deals with the muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons,
and nerves of the body and can be instrumental in the successful treatment of headaches.
Many patients have headaches that originate in the muscles or joints of the neck. This type
of headache is commonly referred to as a cervicogenic headache. (The word cervical refers
to the neck, and cervicogenic means originating in the neck.) Patients who have migraines or
tension-type headaches may have their headaches brought on by a neck strain, but they can also
be brought on by migraine triggers such as glare or fumes. One important trigger is prolonged
awkward posture, such as sitting too close to the screen in a movie theater or working on a
computer screen that is not placed directly in front of you, requiring you to keep your head slightly
turned. Repetitive motions, stress, cold weather, and vibration are also triggers of cervicogenic
headaches. Another common source of headaches is trauma. Neck trauma, such as whiplash
injuries, can overstretch muscles and create stiffness and pain in the joints of the neck. Injuries of
this sort often respond very well to physical therapy, particularly if treated early after the injury.

Once a trigger to headaches is identified, treatment may be focused on the trigger or cause. It is
important to find a physical therapist who is experienced in manual therapy (hands-on treatment)
and in the evaluation and treatment of headaches. Identifying the specific headache trigger,
utilizing appropriate manual therapy techniques, and including specific and focused exercise in
the plan of care is often a successful combination at relieving recurrent headaches. Beyond the
treatments guided by their therapist, headache sufferers can also learn specific techniques they
may utilize to prevent future headaches or at the onset of a headache to reduce their pain.

At Momentum Physical Therapy & Sports Rehab, our qualified team of therapists can help you
conquer your headaches and get back to doing the things you love to do. Our team will identify
the cause of your headaches, get you out of pain, and help you take the steps necessary to
prevent future headaches. Our helpful, caring, and professional staff go the extra mile to ensure
you regain the momentum of your life.