Did you know that 50 percent of the adult population is currently suffering from some kind of headache disorder? According to the World Health Organization, headaches affect 66 percent of adult males and 80 percent of adult females. Sixty-six percent of patients with headaches will at some point experience reduced work capacity or ability to perform in social settings.
All About Headaches…
The four most common types of headaches are:
- Migraine headaches
- Tension type headaches
- Cluster headaches
- Cervicogenic headaches (originating in the neck)
“As physical therapists, we commonly treat migraines, tension type headaches and cervicogenic headaches,” says Amy Crouse, PT, DPT, OCS, COMT of Results Physiotherapy. “Some headaches are classified as a migraine but may actually be a cervicogenic headaches, when the pain is actually referred from the neck. These are relatively easy to recognize with a thorough exam of the upper neck and are often patients who did not respond to migraine medications and treatments. Manual therapy, exercise and education can be highly beneficial in treating these type headaches.
In some cases, a true migraine may be triggered by a cervicogenic headache. If there’s a cervicogenic or neck component to a headache, physical therapists may be able to significantly reduce the intensity and frequency of those migraines.
Who Should You See for Headache Treatment?
Go to a physical therapist if the headache is one-sided, when there’s neck pain associated with the headache, or if headaches can be relieved with over-the-counter medication or position-change.
Go to a specialist if there has been a history of trauma such as a fall or whiplash-type injury, a significant loss in ability to perform home and job activities, if you have a new onset of headaches when you’ve never had headaches before, or if you’re having any numbness or weakness in the face.
What Headache Treatments Are Available?
Physical therapists at Results Physiotherapy do a thorough examination of all involved body structures. Manual therapy is a very common treatment used with headaches.
As Crouse explains, “If I can reproduce your neck pain or headache in the clinic, then I can take it away. As we’re trying to solve the puzzle of migraine headaches, if I can reproduce it by treating your neck, then we can treat the cause of the headache.”
Physical therapists often use trigger point dry needling in treating headaches, as well as postural education, diet and sleep habits, stress management, and relaxation techniques.
Schedule Your FREE Screening at Results Physiotherapy
In Tennessee, patients can go directly to a physical therapist for care – no doctor’s referral required. As always, initial screenings at Results Physiotherapy are free. Request an appointment online, or call a Middle Tennessee Results Physiotherapy location near you.