At The Bridgeman Centre we often have patients who suffer from headaches and migraines. Most symptoms are caused by pain-sensitive structures such as the cranium, muscles, nerves, arteries and veins, subcutaneous tissues, eyes, ears, sinuses and mucous membranes.
The majority of patients we treat suffer with tension-type headaches which develop for a number of reasons. It is important for the physiotherapist to exclude any serious pathologies which will be covered in the initial assessment. If the physiotherapist believes you may need further assessment they will advise you to see your GP or refer you for further scans (MRI, CT). The majority of headaches have a simple explanation and at The Bridgeman Centre we use a number of different treatment techniques to improve your symptoms.
Headaches generally present as a steady dull ache, intermittent or chronic in nature, and are usually activity dependent. The patient often describes a pulling or gripping feeling over their head that is causing the pain. Headaches may develop after trauma such as a whiplash injury, or sporting injuries (repetitive trauma) and headaches that originate from the neck usually present with stiffness and loss in movement to the neck. This can be exacerbated by poor posture and occupations that involve static positions.
Abnormal biomechanics can cause muscle shortening and joint dysfunction which will predispose an individual to headaches. Damage to the joints in the spine or compression of the nerves as they pass through the muscles can also cause irritation to the nerves, causing a headache to develop.
How can Physiotherapy Help with Headaches?
There are a number of different reasons why headaches develop and it is important for the physiotherapist to get to the source of the problem before developing a treatment program. We will complete a thorough assessment and determine the main cause of the headache. This may be spondylosis (osteoarthritis) of the spine, trigger points in the muscles, poor posture causing abnormal curvature (lordosis or kyphosis) of the spine, previous whiplash injury, stenosis (narrowing) of the joints in the spine or increased stress levels which cause muscle tension.
Once the underlying cause as been established, the physiotherapist will use the most appropriate treatment modalities to treat an individual’s symptoms. Most commonly we use manual mobilisations of the spine, massage to affected muscles along with exercises to correct imbalances and posture. We find acupuncture very effective for all headaches and migraines, if the client if agreeable. A series of exercise to address any weakness or over activity will be taught.
If you would like to discuss your problem before booking an appointment please give our physiotherapy team a call, we will do our best to help. 01942 321235