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Millions of people suffer from a variety of headaches. This may include sinus headaches, hormonal headaches, and migraines. Various types of stress can also play a role in causing headaches.

In fact, stress-related headaches are considered to be one of the most common headaches people experience. It is important to understand how stress headaches differ from other types of headaches, in addition to the causes of these types of headaches and how a physical therapist can help.

As stated by Choose PT, “There is an effective treatment for almost every type of headache.” Find out how physical therapy can help you by contacting us today!

How can physical therapy help relieve my headaches?

Physical therapy might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering treatment options for headaches. Physical therapy, however, may be the ideal treatment if you’re experiencing tension or stress headaches.

A physical therapist would probably conduct a review of your medical history and conduct a thorough evaluation of your current physical abilities and limitations. A specific treatment plan could then be created that would address your individual condition.

There are several specific ways that physical therapy can help reduce stress-related headaches:

  • Lifestyle Changes: A physical therapist can teach you new ways of sitting, standing, and even different ways to complete daily tasks that can reduce the stress and tension that contributes to stress headaches. Over time, even improved posture may be able to decrease the amount of headaches you experience.
  • Stretches: Stretching exercises can help loosen tight muscles and ligaments in your neck and back that are contributing to your headaches. Certain stretches may also strengthen muscles in your neck and back. You can reduce pressure in your neck and shoulders as the muscles become stronger and more flexible.
  • Ice/Heat Therapy: Alternating between heat and cold therapy can often reduce the tension and stress in muscles. It not only reduces muscle strain but can provide immediate soothing relief.
  • Soft Tissue Mobilization: Massage and other types of manual therapy can often provide immediate relief from pain associated with stress headaches. A physical therapist using the correct massage techniques can help prevent contractions in the shoulders, neck, and head that can cause headaches.

A physical therapist can also help in the following ways:

  • Postural improvement: How your posture is held during the day significantly impacts your pain levels and the likelihood of experiencing a stress-related headache. Your physical therapist will teach you how to improve your posture for a greater quality of life.
  • Neck adjustments: Your physical therapist can use manual therapy to stretch muscles in your neck to relieve pain and increase range of motion.
  • Improving your muscle strength: You’ll learn exercises to help strengthen the muscles that control your upper back and neck. This way your posture will improve, and you’ll be able to sit or stand for long periods without experiencing pain and discomfort.

Why am I experiencing headaches?

There are a number of reasons why you may experience a stress-related headache.

Anxiety, fatigue, and general stress can all contribute to these types of headaches. Certain health conditions, including arthritis, may also lead to stress-related headaches.

It is also possible for poor posture to contribute to stress-related headaches. Improper posture can make the muscles tense and cause the blood vessels to dilate.

So, what are stress-related headaches?

Stress-related headaches are sometimes also referred to as tension headaches. In stressful situations, our bodies often go into fight or flight mode. During this time, certain chemicals in the brain can be released that can cause a variety of changes in the body that can lead to pain.

You may experience a dull, achy pain along your forehead or through the back of your head. The pain sometimes begins in the neck or shoulders and progresses through the areas of the head. Sometimes aches or pains may also occur in the jaws and cheeks.

Get started today!

If you are struggling with stress-related headaches, a personalized physical therapy plan may reduce or even eliminate headache pain.

Ready to get started? Contact Moon Physical Therapy today to get in touch with a physical therapist who can help relieve your headaches and get you on the path to a pain-free life.