Physical Therapy For Headaches

Physical Therapy For Headaches

There are many different types and locations of headaches in the head and they affect 47% of the world’s population. There are many headaches that are harmless and will go away on their own. An increased frequency of moderate to severe headaches, however, can have a negative impact on your quality of life and ability to do daily tasks.

There are several types of headaches, including:

  • Tension headache
  • Migraine
  • Secondary headaches are caused by an underlying condition, such as a fever,  sinus disorder, infectious disease, or, less commonly, a tumor.
  • Cervicogenic or neck-related
  • Unspecified headaches

During a physical therapy visit, the physical therapist will examine you and determine what type of headache you have.

Here are 5 exercises to relieve headaches.(If you have questions, talk to us)

1. Chin Tucks

Patients enjoy this exercise very much. Almost everyone who works in an office at a desk is guilty of hunching over their desks and hiking up their shoulders. Your head, neck, and shoulder posture can be improved with chin tucks.

Sit tall with your buttocks against the back of the seat and your back against the back of the chair. Put your chin towards the front of your neck without tilting your head. You can use the analogy ” without tilting your head down,  give yourself a double chin. “ Hold the position for 4-7 seconds and then relax. Repeat this exercise 10 times after each hour.

2. Upper Trapezius Stretching

Our upper trapezius often becomes tight and stiff from hiking up our shoulders while sitting. Stretching the trapezius will help loosen your shoulders.

How to perform: Start by standing or sitting upright. Bring your left ear down to your left shoulder. Do not let your left shoulder hike up to meet your ear and make sure the right shoulder does not hike up either. Staying in the same position, take the left hand and bring it up over the top of the right side of the head. Softly pull the head to the left, and you will feel a pull along the right shoulder and neck. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds and then return to the midline. Now repeat this activity on the other side. Perform 2-3 times on each side.

3. Cat-Cow Stretch

This is great for improving the mobility of the neck and back, usually for those who have to sit for long periods of time at work.

How to perform: Begin with knees and hands on the floor, with wrists under shoulders, and knees under hips. Begin with a neutral spine position, with the flat back and engaged abdominal muscles. Inhale and make an arch on your back, lifting your tailbone and head. Then exhale while pulling abdominal muscles towards the spine and rounding your spine up toward the ceiling, and simultaneously tucking the chin towards the chest and tucking the tailbone in. Repeat the steps between these two positions while properly inhaling and exhaling. Perform for one minute.

4. Turn Head Side To Side

This is great in improving your neck mobility, especially if your neck feels stiff when you turn your head from right to left.

How to perform: Begin by standing straight, now turn your head to the left and look over your left shoulder until you no longer can then hold the position. Return to the midline position then repeat on the right side. Repeat this exercise three times on each side.

5. Scapular Retraction

Getting bored at your desk? Scapular retraction is the simplest exercise to perform while sitting at work. It helps you combat the rounded shoulders and forward head posture that we often see in office workers.

How to perform: First relax the tops of your shoulders, pretending there is a tennis ball placed between your shoulder blades, then pinch the shoulder blades together to squeeze that “tennis ball”. Repeat 10-15 times every hour.