What are they?

Headaches can occur anywhere in the head and neck region. Pain can arise in any of the following structures in the head and neck – the skull, muscles, nerves, arteries and veins, subcutaneous tissues, eyes, ears, sinuses and mucous membranes.

Types of Headaches

Headaches can be divided into primary and secondary categories. Examples of primary headaches include migraine, tension headaches, trigeminal neuralgia and cluster headaches. Secondary headaches can be a result of referral pain from other areas of the body that may be under postural strain such as the neck and shoulder.

Who gets them and why?

Anyone may suffer from headaches ranging from mild and infrequent to debilitating and constant. There are many causes – some known and many idiopathic. There are intrinsic and extrinsic factors to bear in mind. Intrinsic causes could be due to poor diet, lack of nutrition and dehydration. Extrinsic causes, such as faulty posture, pertain to what the person is doing in their daily lives that leads to headaches. Stress, be it physical or emotional, is a huge factor that needs to be examined.

Recovery and Prevention

Taking medication can be appropriate in some cases and may help to resolve your symptoms. However, people can frequently overrely on medication to relieve pain which ironically leads to medication overuse headaches. A healthy active lifestyle can only be of benefit. Appropriate sport and activity, for example tai chi for health, represent a great opportunity to relieve emotional stress and restrictive holding patterns in the body.

How can physical therapy treatment help?

Physical therapy treatment involves the use of safe and effective myofascial release techniques to release adhesions in the head, neck, face and shoulder soft tissues. Tightness in these regions can have a huge bearing on the physical and emotional wellbeing of the patient. Holding tightness in the tissues around the head and neck is highly wasteful and expends valuable energy thus draining the patient.

The techniques used during physical therapy treatment range from firm and thorough, for example in the shoulder region, to soothing gentle and effective for discomfort in the face, head and neck regions. Physical therapy treatment can help to get rid of completely or significantly alleviate headaches arising out of emotional stress and faulty posture, leaving the patient lighter, freer and ready to return to their normal activities of daily life.

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