4/9/2021Can Physical Therapy Help with Headaches?

If you regularly get cervicogenic headaches you can likely get permanent relief from them through physical therapy.  Cervicogenic headaches originate from the spine and neck and radiate to other areas like the top, side, or back of the head.  They are either gradual or caused by an injury.   Sitting at a computer for extended periods of time or prolonged positions or postures can increase the propensity for these headaches.  Other symptoms may include neck pain, muscle tenderness, shoulder/arm pain, weakness, and possible dizziness and nausea.  These headaches and their symptoms are usually the result of stiff joints in the neck, soft tissue tightness and/or trigger points, and possibly nerve irritation.

Physical therapy can be prescribed for patients who suffer from cervicogenic headaches.  A therapist will complete a detailed assessment of the patient to find which structures are contributing to the symptoms. The exam may consist of range of motion for the head and neck, joint mobility, muscle tightness, tenderness, and trigger points, to name a few.

Following the exam, the therapist will design a treatment plan specific for the patient and will perform manual therapy techniques to decrease pain and increase movement in the head and neck area.

These manual therapy techniques will also be paired with exercises to increase strength and endurance of the deep neck flexor muscles, other neck muscles, and upper back muscles.  Educating the patient on proper posture, body mechanics and stretching will help achieve long-lasting relief and possibly permanent resolution to these headaches.

You don’t have to live a life in pain.  Physical therapy can lead you to a better, pain-free way of life.