What Is a Tension Headache, and How Can Physiotherapy Help?

April 10th, 2022
What Is a Tension Headache, and How Can Physical Therapy Help?

Have You Been Suffering from Stress-Related Headaches?

Have painful headaches become an irritating part of your daily routine? Do they strike while you’re sitting in traffic, late to work, or scrambling to get through a seemingly endless to-do list?

We understand just how frustrating it is to deal with painful headaches daily. It’s hard enough to get through a stressful day normally. But when you add in painful symptoms of throbbing and pressure in your head and neck during your most stressful moments, certain tasks can feel downright impossible.

If you’re feeling like a prisoner to your pain and considering turning to prescription drugs just to make it through the day, you need to hear about the pain-relieving properties of physiotherapy Burlington, ON.

Contact our office today to learn how our dedicated team of physiotherapists Burlington, ON can get you back on your feet.

Are my headaches caused by stress?

Multiple kinds of headaches exist, and they can all be debilitating. Whether you’re experiencing migraines, cluster headaches, sinus head pain, or tension headaches, you’re likely craving fast and powerful relief.

A tension headache is the most common type of headache. According to Mayo Clinic, common symptoms of tension headaches include:

  • Aching and dull head pain
  • The feeling of tightness or pressure across your forehead or on the sides and back of your head
  • Tenderness throughout your scalp, neck, and shoulder muscles

Your physiotherapist can help you identify what type of headache you’ve been experiencing, and then develop a plan to treat your painful symptoms and prevent them from reappearing in the future.

Tension headaches can occur episodically (lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to a week) or chronically (lasting for at least 15 days a month for 3 or more months).

Both kinds of tension headaches can negatively affect your quality of life and prevent you from being an active participant in your daily routine.

The exact scientific cause for tension headaches is not known, but some of the most commonly reported triggers for tension headaches include stress, heightened emotions, and depression.

How can physiotherapy help my headaches?

Studies show that many individuals who experience tension headaches have less strength in their neck extension muscles than the average person.

Your physiotherapist can prescribe you a set of exercises to strengthen your neck, shoulder, and upper back muscles.

In addition to strengthening your neck extension muscles and subsequent supporting muscle groups, your physiotherapist can offer you a wide variety of therapeutic modalities. The following list introduces you to just a few of the healing treatments you may encounter in physiotherapy.

Manual and massage therapy

Massage therapy is widely regarded as an excellent way to relax patients. Including massage into your treatment plan may help lessen the severity and frequency of chronic or episodic tension headaches.

Massage therapy also eases muscle tightness, which can lessen the amount of strain on your upper body. This therapeutic modality can also help your therapist identify any compressed nerves that may be contributing to your tension headaches.

Manual therapy is therapeutic modality that involves manipulation of muscles and joint mobilization/manipulation. Manual techniques can improve muscle performance, alleviate muscle and joint stiffness, increase mobility of the head and neck, and decrease muscle spasms.

Posture improvement

Did you know that poor posture can cause headaches? These posture-related headaches occur when your body maintains an unnatural position for an extended period. Examples of “unnatural” positions include slouching over your computer or looking down at your phone all day.

Both of these positions cause neck muscles to become overextended, which puts excessive pressure on other muscles and joints in your body and can lead to painful pinched nerves as well as headaches.

Luckily, your physiotherapist can help you improve your posture, and thereby prevent future headaches from occurring. After assessing your posture and asking you questions about your workspace, your physiotherapist may determine that the way you sit or stand is contributing to significant muscle strain.

You’ll then learn techniques to help your body “remember” how to hold the correct positions for sitting, standing and walking. Retraining your posture will not only help improve your headaches but can easily improve your long term physical health.

Address flexibility issues

Did you know that improving your flexibility can reduce the likelihood of stress-related tension headaches and help prevent serious injury down the line?

Your physiotherapist can prescribe you a stretching regime that targets your pain sources, and improves the tightness and tension in your muscles and joints.

Stretching can alleviate physical and mental tension in the body. Many patients have reported that maintaining a consistent stretching routine helps them relieve emotional stress, and in some cases, helps fight depression.

Your physiotherapist will ensure that you understand how to safely perform your specific stretches in the clinic and at home. This way, you can retain and improve your flexibility between sessions, and even after you complete your physiotherapy program.

It’s time for your headaches to become a thing of the past

If you’re tired of painful tension headaches disrupting your life, contact Progressive Sports Medicine today to set up an appointment with one of our licensed physiotherapists.

We are looking forward to meeting you, and helping you achieve the pain-free life you deserve.

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