You Don’t Have To Live In Pain
Stress headaches are no joke, and sometimes, a pill just doesn’t cut it when it comes to getting rid of one. According to Choose PT, “most headaches are harmless and resolve on their own, although severe headaches that recur frequently can affect your ability to do your daily activities and can reduce your quality of life.”
Tension headaches fall into this category, and involve the sensation of a “band of pressure” around your head, as well as tenderness and achy feelings. Stress headaches come from muscle tension and emotional stress. Luckily, physical therapy can provide relaxation and posture correction to alleviate symptoms associated with these kinds of headaches. Receiving therapy will not only give you relief from your current pain, but also decrease the number of stress headaches you may experience in the future.
Physical Therapy Can Strengthen Your Upper Body Muscles
When it comes to keeping you supported throughout the day, your back, neck, and shoulders do a lot of the “heavy lifting.” These muscles will get overworked if they’re not strong enough. Physical therapy treatment for the neck and upper back muscles involves resistance training to build up the muscles.
For many patients, having strong upper body muscles means fewer (and less intense) stress headaches. Exercises to prevent these headaches might start with chin-to-chest nods to build up strength in your neck. Resistance bands and free weights may also be involved to build up your shoulder and back muscles. Your physical therapist will be able to do a full assessment of your abilities to find out which method works best for you.
Manual Therapy Can Bring Relief
Not all prevention techniques have to be done in your physical therapist’s office, but your physical therapist will know how to give a more targeted approach to your stress related headache pain. Switching between hot and cold compresses is a very simple but effective strategy. These kinds of compresses can be used along with gentle electronic pulse wands to soothe muscles and ease strain.
Manual therapy can also include targeted massage to treat your headaches. Soft tissue mobilization helps to relax tense muscles, and massage can provide immediate relief. Relaxing the muscles in and around the head can prevent the chain of events that result in painful contractions. Patients with chronic tension headaches report a dramatic decrease in overall pain after receiving manual therapy. They also experience headaches less frequently.
As an added bonus, people who get regular therapeutic massages report getting a better night’s sleep, which leads to less stress during the day. Physical therapy massage also helps ease the emotional stress that causes you to tense those muscles. Who doesn’t like getting a massage?
Your Flexibility Will Be Improved
The less pressure you put on the major muscle groups in your neck and shoulders during the day, the more you’ll be able to move those areas. This can also alleviate some of your stress headaches and make them easier to deal with. Your physical therapist can show you moves that will stretch your neck as well as loosen up your chest and shoulder muscle groups. Doing these stretches regularly helps limber you up overall and keeps your muscles from getting too tight.
Sit Up Straight!
Did you know that the ways we stand and sit can influence how much pressure we’re putting on our muscles? It’s true. Poor posture can compress muscles and nerves in the shoulder, chest and neck area. These are the areas that trigger painful tension headaches, so it’s important to make sure you’re checking your posture often and sitting up straight if you’re at a desk!
Your physical therapist will demonstrate to you the proper ways to move, stand, and sit. They will also be able to evaluate your posture and show you how you can improve it to place less stress on your overworked muscles.
There are many modifications a physical therapist might suggest for you to carry out at home or in your work station. Raising your computer monitor, getting a special computer chair with lumbar support, or even purchasing a rubber mat to stand on while doing dishes in your kitchen are all simple suggestions a physical therapist could make. All of these changes can have a positive effect on your posture.
What Are You Waiting For?
We all think we know exactly how to relax…until it comes to our health depending on it. Then we might need some help! So if you’re suffering from constant stress-related headaches and want to learn more about relieving the frequency and severity of your own, contact our office to learn more. We can set up an evaluation for you to see one of our licensed physical therapists, and figure out a course of treatment to help you relax your muscles, sleep better, and get back to enjoying life without pain.