PT - Effective Treatment for Headaches – FitPT

PT - Effective Treatment for Headaches

Posted on February 13 2017

Denver may boast 300 days of sunshine per year, but that brings little relief to many folks who suffer from the dark cloud of headaches on an ongoing basis. When your head hurts, the last thing you want is bright sunlight in your eyes. While the cause of headaches can be quite complex, in most cases, the solution may be as simple as a few visits to your physical therapist.

There are two primary types of headaches. The first, cervicogenic headaches, are the most common type and account for more than 70% of the headaches in the general population. Cervicogenic headaches result from mechanical dysfunctions of the neck vertebrae and joints. Common symptoms of cervicogenic headaches include: initial pain that starts in the back of the head or neck; pain that seems to reside on one side of the head; and a sensation of pressure or tightness. Cervicogenic headaches generally respond very well to physical therapy.

Migraines, the other primary type of headache, typically account for about 10% of headaches in the general population. Unlike cervicogenic headaches, migraines are more severe and have the following symptoms: pain preceded by visual disturbances, runny nose, teary eyes, nausea and/or vomiting, tingling, numbness, sweating, and possible sensitivity to light. Routine physical activity may trigger these symptoms.

If you aren’t sure which type of headache you have, please consider scheduling an appointment at your nearby Fit Physical Therapy clinic. Some research indicates that headaches are on a continuum, which means that applying manual therapies appropriate for cervicogenic headaches may help reduce migraine symptoms. Our physical therapists have advanced training and will determine which course of action is appropriate for your unique situation.

How Will My Physical Therapist Treat My Headaches?

Your physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation to properly identify the cause of your headaches. Once diagnosis is determined, your PT will provide a multifaceted treatment approach which may include: manual therapy; therapeutic massage to minimize pain immediately; ergonomics and posture education; identifying and treating appropriate trigger points; electrical nerve stimulation; exercise regimen to help continue healing at home; and other modalities to facilitate improved function and mobility.

If headaches are keeping you from enjoying the Colorado sunshine, please contact the Fit Physical Therapy clinic near you to schedule an appointment. Our highly skilled and experienced PTs are here to help you improve your quality of life.


Yours for improved quality of life,
Dr. Christian Jones, Littleton/Peak Clinic


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