There are a whole lot of headaches out there and you are in luck because a lot of them can be treated through some simple changes or going and seeing your local physical therapist. Either way, you can empower yourself by knowing what to do and not overlooking your neck as part of the cause is a big part of it. Below a few of the common types of headaches that can be stemming from the neck as well as how you can have an affect on them.
This is far and above the most common form of headache out there and it is more likely than not that all of you have experienced this at some point in your life. They are pretty variable in intensity and can be pain in the head, neck, behind the eyes or like a band around the head.
Since they are caused by, just as they sound, tension, then we want to look at decreasing the muscle tension from the neck up to the head. It is always important to be aware of your postures and then stretch out and strengthen out of them. We tend to fall forward with our neck and shoulders so stretching them out and strengthening the upper back to pull everything back is a must. You will also do well to identify your causes of stress and either ways to avoid it or a stress relieving technique that best helps you.
It is a must to look at both as this is often a chicken or egg issue going back and forth between tension and the next type, cervicogenic headaches. In either case posture and muscle tension must be addressed, here as a secondary factor and with cervicogenic headaches as a primary issue.
These are types of headaches that secondary, or stemming from somewhere else causing pain referral. In this case they are stemming from the neck specifically. Posture is often the culprit here that must be addressed through proper stretching of the shortened muscles and strengthening of the lengthened muscles, often known as an upper crossed syndrome. Get the head, neck and shoulders in proper position and your headaches will fade simply to an old memory.
Now we will not change the arthritis that is starting in your neck, but you guessed it again, we must not overlook posture. However, with arthritis, you can’t just jump in and do some neck stretching and strengthening as we have to be aware not to aggravate the current degenerative changes that have already taken place. These types usually respond well to a properly structured program and maintenance is a must here to avoid any progression of arthritis.
Post Traumatic Headaches
These are often seen following a concussion and this is something that we continue to see more in physical therapy. There are many things we can help you with beyond posture here that come to training the brain and visual systems, but this is another blog for another time (feel free to reach out if you are looking for more answers on this now at 610-841-3555).
TMJ (temporomandibular joint headaches)
Besides the typical jaw pain associated with TMJ, one can often develop significant headaches. TMJ pain and associated headaches are commonplace for physical therapists to treat, either alone or in conjunction with your dentist. This is a bit more involved and usually requires manual therapy for both the neck and jaw as well as a very specialized home exercise program, so unfortunately no recommendations on exercises and stretches here.
Anytime we talk about headaches it would be ashamed if we did not talk about proper hydration. Just by drinking enough water (½ your bodyweight in ounces of water) you can easily help prevent a lot of the typical day to day mild headaches and of cours avoid seeing your friendly physical therapist.
For those of you who are looking for a little more info on preventing neck pain and headaches then check out our Free Neck Pain Video Course. Through the course and following the steps above you will be well on your way to keeping away neck pain and avoiding future headaches.
If you are ready to get started right away then do not hesitate to give a call at 610-841-3555 and get started on the path to healing right away.
That’s all for now! Feel free to post any questions in the comments section below and if you sign up for a course you will be able to get to stay on top of all things Robbins Rehab!