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Physiotherapy For Headaches

Headache Physical Therapy

What does a headache mean?

Headaches are one of the most common ailments, suffered by people of all ages! Headaches can range from mild to severe, and have a whole spectrum of symptoms from “nagging”, “aching”, and “sore”, to “sharp”, “stabbing” and “debilitating”.

Because it is such a common discomfort, many people seem to undermine its seriousness. Most adults, so immersed in their work and daily routine, do not even seek medical help for headaches. A lot of these people feel like it is unnecessary to consult a professional for “just a headache”.

Don’t Take Your Headache Lightly

The Canada National Population Health Survey conducted a study that showed that around 8 percent of Canadians over the age of twelve have been diagnosed with migraines.

Headaches can have many causes, not just migraines. It is the first red flag that the human body waves in order to call attention to some kind of deficiency. Thankfully, however, it is a small minority of people in which a headache has a sinister source.

Sometimes a headache can signal an emergency physiological issue. For example, an aneurysm, meningitis, strokes, neurological tumours, and various other systematic illnesses.

In the majority of cases, headaches are the first sign of something lacking in the human body such as a vitamin deficiency, lack of sleep, or an imbalanced diet. Headaches also correlate with psychological issues such as depression and anxiety.

Since headaches can be caused by both mental and physical stressors/traumas, it is important to investigate the source of chronic or severe headaches to be certain that it is nothing truly serious. Often times, you will seek physiotherapy for headaches as it can reduce the pain considerably by just doing a few manipulations and changes in your life style.

The Various Types of Headaches

There are around 14 primary and secondary headache disorders.

Primary headaches include headaches that are not caused any other problem in the body. They include:

Migraines: A migraine starts as a throbbing on one side of the head and is known to get so severe as to hinder the basic motor functions of the human body. People who suffer from migraines also end up with osmophobia, photophobia, and phonophobia. These denote increased sensitivity to smells, light, and sound, respectively. Any over-topping of sensation might trigger severe bouts of pain that can cause nausea and vomiting.

Tension-type headaches: A tension headache is the most common form of a primary headache. That is suffered by more than eighty percent of the population. Tension-type headaches are very uncomfortable and can become a serious issue if they become too frequent or chronic.

Cluster headaches: Cluster headaches occur in cyclical patterns, lasting a few days to months before entering a remission period. Remission can last anywhere from months to years! Cluster headaches are usually very intense but fortunately are rare and non-life threatening.

A secondary headache is caused by a fundamental issue in the body. This type of headache is mostly a symptom of something else that is wrong with the body, rather than the primary cause.

Cervicogenic headaches: These headaches are caused by a dysfunction in the cervical spine, and the neck. These types of headaches can develop after an incident/trauma, or gradually over time. A cervicogenic headache can occur anywhere in the head and can range from mild to severe.

Physiotherapy Treatment

Using Physiotherapy for Headaches

It has been proven that physiotherapy for headaches is an effective treatment. People suffering from cervicogenic headaches have been especially known to benefit from physiotherapy techniques. In some cases, physical therapy has helped cases where other treatments and medication have failed to procure adequate results.

People recommend using physiotherapy for headaches in which the patient is known to have the following traits:

  • The “clenching” of the jaw or the shoulders
  • Clenching of the teeth during sleep
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Stiffness and soreness in the jaw or the neck
  • Rise from sleep with a pain in the head

It also occurs in people who have suffered from a physical injury or malady in the past such as:

  • A car accident
  • A fall or a concussion
  • Consistent and chronic pain in the neck
  • Dizziness or bouts of vertigo

Why Physiotherapy For Headaches Works?

Physiotherapy works for the treatment of cervicogenic and tension-type headaches. It can help relax the muscles and the joints that are under stress relieving the source of the pain.

Pillars of Wellness has seasoned experts well-versed in using physiotherapy for headaches and much more. If you are unsure if physiotherapy is right for you, we offer 15-minute complimentary consultations so you can make sure you’re getting the best care possible. Contact us today to book an assessment!

Laurent Pinci
Laurent Pinci
Pillars of Wellness is a truly Integrated Healthcare Centre providing a high degree of collaboration and communication among health providers.