Health Blog

How to Find Relief from Stress-Related Headaches

relief

Headaches are the third most common pain complaint throughout the world. They are debilitating and can greatly impact a person’s quality of life.

Fortunately, relief is possible. By working with a trained physical therapist at Orthopedic & Balance Specialists, you can experience immediate pain relief from stress-related headaches and other ailments that may be contributing to your suffering. In this guide, we’ll outline the different types of headaches and the causes for them, and explain how physical therapy can help.

Types of Headaches

Pain of any sort that occurs in the head is called a headache. Many resolve on their own and don’t need intervention. However, severe headaches that recur frequently and interfere with quality of life often demand further evaluation. The challenge lies in identifying which type of headache you’re experiencing and then devising a treatment plan accordingly. Physical therapists are adept at diagnosing different types of headaches and can develop  pain relief strategies for stress-related headaches.

There are 10 common types of headaches:

  • Stress (tension) headaches
  • Post-traumatic headaches
  • Cluster headaches
  • Hormone headaches
  • Caffeine headaches
  • Migraine or sinus headaches
  • Exertion headaches
  • Rebound headaches
  • Hypertension headaches

What Are Stress-Related Headaches?

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache in adults and older teens. They often appear as a result of poor posture, increased stress, neck or jaw problems, fatigue, or arthritis, although it’s possible to experience them when feeling anxious, depressed or stressed. They occur when the neck and scalp muscles contract or become tense, and they can happen at any age.

Stress-related headaches generally start at the back of the head and progress to the top of the head and eyes. Sometimes, facial pain along the jaw and cheeks accompanies the headache. They have been compared to wearing a tight hat, having hair pulled or a squeezing of the head from the ears inward.

How Can a Physical Therapist Help?

Your physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation of your health history and a careful physical examination. He or She will ask you a series of questions to determine the type of headache you’re experiencing and determine the best route for pain relief.

During your first visit, you can expect to undergo some of the following:

  • Tests of your muscle strength and sensation
  • Questions regarding previous injuries to your neck, head, jaw and back
  • Inquiries about the location and types of pain and other symptoms experienced
  • Measurements regarding the range of motion of your shoulders, neck and other relevant parts of the body
  • Manual therapy to ascertain the mobility of joints and muscles in your neck
  • Examination of your posture while engaged in different activities

If your physical therapist determines that you’re dealing with stress-related headaches, you’ll work together to develop a plan for care to meet your physical health goals. If the evaluation determines a different type of headache, your physical therapist will likely refer you to a different type of health care professional.

Goals of Physical Therapy

While the end goal of physical therapy is pain relief, there are some important steps along the way that your physical therapist will help you address so that you can achieve a decrease in pain.

Some of These Include:

  • Improvement of your posture. Your posture throughout the day greatly impacts your level of pain and likelihood of stress-related headaches. Your physical therapist will teach you methods of improving your posture for a greater quality of life.
  • Improvement of neck movement. Using manual therapy, your physical therapist will stretch the muscles in the back of your neck to relieve pain and increase movement.
  • Improvement of strength. You’ll learn exercises to help strengthen the muscles that control your upper back and neck so that your posture improves, and you’re able to endure standing and sitting for longer periods without discomfort.

Pain Relief Methods

While each treatment meets the needs of individuals, most physical therapists use methods that range from soft tissue mobilization, heat or ice compressions, muscular releases, cervical traction, body mobilization, stretching, strengthening, muscle energy techniques, and McKenzie-based diagnosis and therapy of the spine. With all treatment plans, you can expect to receive education that will supplement your in-office experience.

Persistent and life-altering headaches may not go away without physical therapy. To experience long-lasting pain relief and improve your quality of life, contact Orthopedic Balance and Therapy in Valparaiso, LaPorte, Crown Point, or Highland, IN today to learn more.

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Our Reviews
Arlene Gross
Arlene Gross
15:58 22 Jun 18
Everyone that worked with me was helpful. I enjoyed watching the staff interact as they worked as they laughed and smiled making me feel that it was fun to exercise. My knee pain is less and I look forward to having the same results with my back.
Paul Grant
Paul Grant
21:51 03 Apr 18
I have read lots of reviews that say "the entire staff of ..." is great, and you know that it is BS.. .. Butt at OBTS that statement is true. The person answering the phone, appointment setting they work around my schedule. It is truly a team concept. Everyone that has work with/on me keeps me focus on getting healthy to play golf.... Even those employees that haven't work with/on me are upbeat, positive and encouraging both their patients and me..... follow up phone calls, positive, hand written notes of encouragement, reminding me to do my homework so I can play golf this year. Great Employees, Great Business!.
Jose Ico
Jose Ico
12:43 27 Apr 18
My wife and I have been coming here for a year. They have wonderful customer service and the treatments were great. I could say that since coming here for treatments, I am now able to walk properly and sleep well at nights. They help you in the best way possible. The people here are great and we definitely recommend it to everyone!
Tim Nash
Tim Nash
15:32 27 Aug 18
My first experience with OBTS was very positive. During the course of my 13 therapy sessions I worked with many different therapists and all of them were professional and competent. They were able to help me effectively control my pain without medication using their therapy program. Unfortunately, they could not get my physical condition back to the same ability as before. However, this is due to the fact that it was later determined by my doctors that I required surgery. I plan on returning to OBTS for my post-op physical therapy and have already scheduled my evaluation appointment. Scheduling seems to be a challenge sometimes but that's probably an indication of their patient's satisfaction and good reviews. Thank you OBTS!
Diane Burns
Diane Burns
02:30 16 Mar 18
I’ve had an incredible experience here at OBTS. In just two and half weeks I’ve seen and felt remarkable results. My hip mobility has improved by 30%. I credit the excellent physical therapists and the deep tissue laser therapy for my gains. I’ve gone from walking with a limp and pain everyday to walking normally and know that I’ll be back to running in the future. Every single person is warm and friendly here. Great place!
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