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Headaches

Headaches are usually felt as a dull ache around the head and commonly affect those with office jobs, poor posture and stress.

Headaches can vary in intensity and severity and affect over two-thirds of the population. They may be relieved purely by medication however recurrent headaches may have an underlying cause which physiotherapy assessment can address.

Our physiotherapists are experts at assessing, diagnosing and treating the underlying source of headaches in order to have a positive impact on your life, by alleviating your symptoms.


What are headaches?



A headache is known as a pain in the head, but can be referred pain to the neck or shoulder region too.

Headaches can be divided into 2 main types:
  • Primary Headaches: headaches which are not related to another disorder
  • Secondary Headaches: headaches which are caused by something else such as a head injury, high blood pressure or a tumour.
There are also a number of different kinds of headache including:
  • Tension: a mild to moderate headache which lasts up to a few days. It is characterised by pain or pressure in both sides of the head and neck.
  • Migraine: Typically a pulsing, one-sided headache which worsens with activity. Migraines may also cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and noise.
  • Cluster: One-sided migraine headaches which last less than an hour. Generally felt across the temple and around the eye. Often occur at regular intervals over a set period of days, weeks or even months before remitting to long headache free periods lasting months or years.




Massage of head to releive pressure headachesAbove: Massage of head to releive pressure headaches



What causes headaches?



There are numerous causes of headaches, the cause is dependent on the type of headache you are having. Migraines and Cluster headaches occur as a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain and although severe can often be managed with targeted migraine medication.

As physiotherapists a common type of headache we see are Cervicogenic headaches. This type of headache is caused by stiffness within the structures of the neck and shoulders. Stiffness can also be caused by a trauma such as whiplash incident, conditions like Facial Palsy and TMJ, or from repetitive injuries caused by sports or work.

It is very common for those working for long periods of time at a desk to experience cervical headaches due to poor posture. It is commonplace for people to slouch throughout the day leading to rounded shoulders and a chin that appears 'poking' forwards which leads to tightening of the muscles and compression of the nerves as they exit the spine. This causes headaches which are felt as a constant, steady ache found around the forehead, temples or the back of the head.

What should I do if I have headaches?



If you are experiencing recurrent headaches we would recommend you have a thorough assessment with one of our expert physiotherapists in order to determine whether or not physiotherapy treatment may be of benefit to you.

There are many different causes and types of headache and physiotherapy can be of benefit to those experiencing recurrent headaches due to direct trauma, repetitive injury or poor posture.




Targeted soft tissue massage to the head and cervical spine to releive tension headachesAbove: Targeted soft tissue massage to the head and cervical spine to releive tension headaches



What would physiotherapy assessment for headaches involve?



Physiotherapy assessment for headaches involves both subjective and objective aspects.

To book an appointment regarding your headaches, you can e-mail our team at office@liverpoolphysio.co.uk or call us on 0151 558 0077.

The subjective assessment allows you and your physiotherapist time to explore your symptoms. You will be asked how much pain you experience and how often it affects you, how long you've been having headaches, what you believe triggers and eases your headaches and how they are affecting your day to day activities.

The objective assessment is the part of the assessment where you will be examined physically. Due to the number of factors which can cause headaches a few different areas of the body are normally assessed.

These include:
  • Your posture
  • Your shoulder girdle
  • Your cervical spine or neck
  • Your temporomandibular joint or jaw joint
Your physiotherapist will palpate bones, joints and soft tissues, examine joint range of movement, muscle strength and may also check sensation and reflexes if necessary.

After completing both portions of the assessment your physiotherapist will be able to determine the likely cause of your headaches and advise as to whether physiotherapy treatment may be of benefit to you.





Massage of head to releive pressure headachesAbove: Massage of head to releive pressure headaches



What would physiotherapy treatment for headaches involve?



Physiotherapy treatment for headaches is dependent upon the outcome of a comprehensive assessment.

Possible treatment techniques include:
  • Home exercise programme
  • Joint mobilisation
  • Manipulation
  • Stretching and strengthening of muscles of the neck, shoulders or jaw
  • Postural retraining
  • Workstation assessment and advice
  • Acupuncture
Our treatment plans are built around you and your needs, taking into account your lifestyle and personal goals to ensure correction of the problem and prevention of recurrence.





Massage and realignment of the head, jaw and neck to tension and achingAbove: Massage and realignment of the head, jaw and neck to tension and aching



How do I arrange a physiotherapy assessment for headaches?



If you feel that an assessment with one of our experienced physiotherapists would be of benefit to you then please email us at office@liverpoolphysio.co.uk or call on 0151 558 0077.


Summary



Headaches can be extremely disabling, and are often as a result of treatable factors such as posture, soft tissue injury and stress. Physiotherapy assessment focuses on identifying the trigger or cause of your headaches by looking into your lifestyle, as well as a physical examination. Our physiotherapists will ensure you receive the best combination of treatment available to ensure a speedy recovery.

To book an appointment regarding your headaches, you can e-mail our team at office@liverpoolphysio.co.uk or call us on 0151 558 0077.

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Email: office@liverpoolphysio.co.uk
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