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  • Writer's pictureDr. Brandon

Hope for Headaches

What do “migraines” and the neck have in common? Quite a lot! Here’s how it usually plays out. It’s getting to the end of the day and you know it is coming. That end of day headache, you know, the one that makes you want to find a dark room for a couple of hours. The kind that medicine doesn’t seem to touch. That’s what we’re going to talk about today on Movement Monday. Headaches and the role of the neck in making(and breaking them). Did you know there are about 14 types of headaches? Each one with a different way of making your life miserable. Three of the ones that do best with Physical Therapy are what is known as a cervicogenic headache or a

headache that has its origins in the neck. The migraine which can sometimes have its origins in the neck(more on that later-many cervicogenic headaches are misdiagnosed as migraines). The last is the tension headache. Your tension headache may or may not have their origins in the muscles and joints of the neck but also-more on that in a bit. So, how to know if you are dealing with a headache that has a neck origin? The most common ones I see are usually on either the right or left side(mostly on one side but can have occasional headaches on the opposite side), feel like they start at the base of the head and can wrap over the top of the head and even have symptoms behind the eye. Like migraines, they can have light sensitivity, blurred vision, and nausea. They respond very well to hands on care(taking care of the sore spots on the neck and the muscles of the head) even when somebody has had their headaches for years(even if you are having them daily). This followed by some specific exercises for you to begin to self treat the headaches and hopefully begin to ditch the meds that by most accounts dull the headache but leave you feeling not so hot yourself.

How about the migraine? Did you know that many of the people I’ve seen for migraines, who had the shots, who’ve had the meds for years(often with limited relief) were really dealing with a cervicogenic headache and that the diagnosis had been a bit off. It too responds pretty well to a short course of Physical Therapy targeted at the neck and addressing some of the lifestyle triggers for these types of headaches. Often within the first couple of treatments, we’ll know whether or not your migraine is treatable with Physical Therapy or not-saving you precious time and money.

The last headache that Physical Therapy commonly treats is the tension type headache. It is often described as a band around your head that is squeezing. In many cases, the muscles of your scalp, forehead, and temples have the same kind of knots that you get between your shoulder blades(just smaller as these are much smaller muscles). These are often fed off nerves that come off the base of your skull and can get squeezed by the muscles there which irritates them and begins to spread that irritation around the head.

So, what are your next steps if you’re dealing with headaches?

Get The Guide

Just fill out the form below to get your FREE guide for things you can do TODAY to start healing and get back to life. While the specific exercises in the e-book may not be the specific ones for you, that doesn’t mean that Physical Therapy isn’t right for you but rather your nervous system may be too sensitive and needs hands on care or else, that specific exercise was not correct for you. Have questions that you want answered more personally? Request the free telephone consultation on the home page or Free Total Body Diagnostic test by clicking the button at the top of this page. Until next time,

-Dr. Brandon

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