Many people visit their doctor because of headaches. Sometimes they are prescribed pain medication or muscle relaxers to reduce their symptoms. These may help temporarily, but there is so much more you can do that doesn’t involve medication.
Many headaches are caused from head, neck and shoulder muscle tension, poor moving joints in the neck and back, and poor posture. Have you ever pressed hard on a muscle in your neck and you can feel pain in your forehead, ear or eye? Why does that happen? Well, muscles and connective tissue (fascia) have pain referral patterns. You may be having actual pain in your head and feel like you are having a headache, but the pain is being caused from a different location.
If your headaches come and go, or are usually on one side of the head, it is more than likely coming from a musculoskeletal (bone or muscle) issue. Also, let’s not forget that there are many nerves that pass through your neck and shoulders, which can also refer pain into your head!
I once had a patient that described headaches and ringing in her left ear for over a year. She had numerous testings, including MRIs, hearing tests and EMG studies, but nothing came back positive. After talking with her and finding out about her job, I learned she spend numerous hours with her head tilted to the left while on the phone. That triggered me to examine her neck. She had considerable restrictions in her neck mobility and when I pressed along one of her specific neck muscles, she was shocked to find that it reproduced her symptoms. In just a couple of sessions, the ringing in her ear and her headaches went away. I am no miracle worker, but listening to patients and examining the musculoskeletal system is what a physical therapist does best!
Here are some effective stretches that may help you with your headaches
If you have questions regarding your headaches, give us a call for a free consultation and we can let you know if physical therapy is a good choice for you!
Source of exercise photos: Strive Labs, Inc.