Tension headaches are primary headache disorders that cause a dull, aching pain across the forehead as well as the sides and back of the head. They are one of the most common types of headaches reported in hospitals around the world. People dealing with tension headaches report a feeling of tightness around the affected area. The neck and shoulder muscles, as well as the scalp, also feel tender.
Stress is the most common trigger of this condition, so it is also known as stress-related headaches. The pain felt in this condition happens when the muscles in the scalp and neck become tense and contract.
The pain starts behind the eyes and gradually makes its way to the top of the head. Some people also feel the pain around the cheeks or jaw. If you are always dealing with this dull, aching pain around your head, it is time to see a physical therapist.
Causes of Tension Headaches
There are many reasons why tension headaches develop. They include the following:
- Poor posture
- Increased stress
- Cervical Spine dysfunction
- Muscular Tension
How Physical Therapy Can Help
Physical therapy for tension headaches focuses on improved Cervical spine function and muscle relaxation and retraining. You will also learn exercises designed to promote relaxation at home. Here at Oklahoma Physical Therapy, patients may also receive manual therapy, including joint mobilization/manipulation, soft tissue mobilization, Dry Needling, and other instrument assisted techniques. We also provide education on pain sensitization.
What to Expect at Oklahoma Physical Therapy
During the initial consultations for your tension headache therapy, our specialists will spend time evaluating your medical history and your overall physical condition. It is at this stage that we will focus on understanding your symptoms and also check for signs of an underlying condition. To help in the diagnosis, please be prepared to discuss previous injuries affecting your neck, head, jaw or back.
With a positive diagnosis, we will create a unique plan for your therapy sessions. The composition of your therapy plan may include the following:
- Cervical spine (neck) mobilization/manipulation
- Soft tissue/trigger point release
- Postural training
- Stretching and Strengthening
- Energy building exercises
- Ice or heat
- Home remedies