Did You Know Physical Therapy Could Help You Combat Your Stress-Related Headaches?
Daily stresses in life can add up to the point where you feel physically ill. This is what happens when stress-related headaches occur – it’s your body’s way of demonstrating a physical reaction to overwhelming stress.
While pain-management drugs can help in the short term, they won’t fix the overall issue. The next time you have a stress-related headache, don’t reach for the aspirin.
Give us a call to schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists to get rid of your pain.
How can I tell if my headache is stress-related?
One of the main causes of stress-related headaches is right there in the name: stress. The headache generally happens when the muscles in the neck or scalp become tense and contract.
A stress-related headache is often a result of the daily grind. It’s often the everyday irritants like sitting in traffic and tolerating with everyday annoyances at work that trigger this type of headache.
Stiffening your shoulders or tensing your muscles can make these types of headaches even worse.
Depression and anxiety are similar emotions to stress that can also lead to headaches. In addition, there may be a physical cause behind your stress-related headaches. An accident or injury to the neck or back can contribute to headaches. Poor posture and arthritis are two other potential causes.
The good news is you can stop relying on those over-the-counter meds to get rid of your stress-related headaches, and instead opt for physical therapy.
Why did my stress-related headaches develop?
Stress-related headaches can cause pressure, tightness and pain around the back of the head and neck and around the forehead. It may feel like a clamp squeezing your head. And there are two types of stress-related headaches.
The first type is known as episodic tension headaches. These types of headaches occur less than 15 days per month.
The second type is known as chronic tension headaches. These occur more than 15 days a month and can last from 30 minutes to several days.
Often, these types of headaches begin gradually and likely in the middle of the day. Pain may ease up or get stronger, but it’s always there. Up to 80 percent of Americans experience stress-related headaches from time to time.
How can physical therapy help me relieve my stress-related headaches?
Physical therapy is often the best treatment for stress-related headaches. Physical therapy focuses on promoting relaxation and prescribed exercises.
Your physical therapist can help you get to the bottom of your stress-related headache problem. Your physical therapy treatment plan will likely include a combination of treatment methods, including, but not limited to:
- Exercises that strengthen and loosen your neck muscles can help to ease the stresses that set off your headaches.
- Chiropractic adjustment can correct skeletal misalignment issues that place your neck muscles under unnatural strain. These adjustments can also help to reduce headache attacks.
- Laser therapy and massage therapy can both relax tight neck tissues and speed recovery to injured muscles.
- Corrective exercises and postural/ergonomic changes can help you steer clear of “text neck” and other occupational headache triggers.
- If your headaches are the result of a recent concussion, a carefully-administered course of physical therapy can actually help you recuperate from that concussion more quickly.
- Your physical therapist can help you identify other headache triggers and suggest strategies for avoiding them in your everyday life.
A physical therapist will address the pathophysiological aspects of the stress-related headache by implementing hands-on manual massage and soft tissue mobilization. Both increase the blood flow of tissue and reduce myofascial trigger points.
A physical therapist may also perform soft tissue mobilization and hands-on manual therapy to alleviate the pain from stress-related headaches.
In addition, a physical therapy treatment plan for a stress-related headache may include cold and heat therapy. The electronic pulse wands used for these ease muscle strain and provide a soothing relief.
Often, a physical therapist will evaluate your posture in order to lessen the stress on muscles. They may also recommend lifestyle changes, at-home exercises and modifications to workstations at work and home. The goal of physical therapy is to treat the root cause of your stress-related headache.
Get started with us today
Want to learn more about relieving the frequency and severity of your stress-related headache? Give us a call today, and we’ll set up an evaluation.
Our physical therapist will also suggest a specific treatment plan to ward off those debilitating stress-headaches. Live a pain-free life with physical therapy.