Headaches are one of the most universal and complicated conditions in medicine. It is estimated that 3% of all patients in a Primary Care setting are suffering from some form of headache.
There a many types of headaches. Approximately 60% of all headaches are appropriate for Physical Therapy. Cervicogenic and Tension headaches most commonly respond to Physical Therapy treatment. These types of headaches are defined as:
- Cervicogenic Headache – a pain that develops in the neck, even though a patient feels the pain in their head.
- Tension Headache – generally diffuse mild to moderate pain in a patient’s head that is often described as feeling like a tight band around their head.
Headaches can often be complicated and can be due to several contributing factors. Patients suffering from headaches often see multiple physicians and most of the time do not respond to medications including opioids. Patients that suffer from headaches that do not seem be vascular nature or not a true migraine and is not responding to medications, find that Physical Therapy may be helpful for relief of their symptoms.
Physical Therapy interventions used to address Cervicogenic and Tension headaches may include:
- Manual Therapy
- Soft Tissue Massage
- Cardiovascular Exercise
- Education on Posture and Body Mechanics
- Pain Relieving Modalities
- Dry Needling
Patients should expect to attend Physical Therapy treatments 2 to 3 times per week for 3 to 6 weeks depending on the severity of their symptoms. With appropriate treatment and commitment to the plan of care for Physical Therapy, patients can expect a decrease or resolution of their Cervicogenic/Tension Headache symptoms.