Physiotherapy: Better than Medicine for Headaches

Nothing ruins my day worse than a headache. When a headache suddenly attacks, my mood suddenly changes and my productive levels definitely go down. There was a time when I’d constantly have headaches, at least twice or thrice a week. At first, I thought it was just stress, eye strain, and lack of sleep that trigger them frequently, however, it was more serious than I thought.  

Sometimes, a headache is not just a headache. There are numerous cases wherein headaches are symptoms of certain conditions that affect other parts of the body. This is one my recent discoveries when I first visited my doctor in Werribee, VIC. What really prompted me to have a check up was the regularity of my headaches. Honestly, it was becoming very uncomfortable and agitating since there was pains near my forehead and neck areas as well. My doctor called this condition the tension headache.

Tension headache is actually the most common form of headache among teenagers and adults resulting from stress. This is actually not the gravest type, however, the frequency of my headaches is a bit alarming. After my physical examination, she immediately resented options on how my headaches could be treated. She mentioned several which are medication, counselling, stress management, and even physiotherapy service for headaches when my condition gets worse.  

Tension headache is just one of the many headaches we experience. Other common type of headache includes the sinus headache. This is usually characterized by the build-up of pain and pressure in areas such as the cheekbones, the nose, and the forehead. My doctor said that it was caused by the inflammation of my sinuses in the head. Asides from the throbbing and aching, she also told me to be prepared for other symptoms like runny nose, swelling in the face, fever, and fullness of the ears. 

Another usual headache, most especially for women, is migraine. Migraines are described as the pounding of pain one part of the head. My doctor also told me that they could last from 4 hours to 4 days, and it doesn’t end there. When a migraine occurs, she warned me that I reoccur up to 4 times of the same month.  

According to her, it’s also better to have some knowledge on other secondary headaches, knowing my busy and active lifestyle. Some secondary headaches are compression headaches, ice cream headaches, thunderclap headaches and spinal headaches. These are usually caused by dehydration, ear infection, dental problems, influenza, panic attacks, carbon monoxide poisoning, glaucoma, and hangovers.

After my first visit, I realized that in order to lessen the regularity and gravity of my headaches, I should go to my doctor at least twice a month. When see saw my eagerness to resolve this problem of mine, she recommended that I should consult with a physiotherapist to treat my headaches. 

Initially, I was reluctant to go to a physiotherapist near my place because it seemed like I disconnect from what I’m experiencing. Why was I supposed to go to a physiotherapist? I’m not injured and I didn’t get out of rehab. It turns out, this was the fastest way to relieve me. 

My physiotherapist told me that this wasn’t the first time they dealt with tension headache. In fact, patients with tension headache were already usuals in the clinic. True enough, medicines alone, of different brands and types, aren’t as effective as physiotherapy. So, I immediately signed up for a treatment program. 

Different Physiotherapy Techniques for Headaches

I was enrolled in a program for almost two months and as I progressed, I am constantly surprised how massages could relieve my headaches. Some techniques included in my program are the following:

  1. For Hypermobile. For joints in the body which are unstable, my physiotherapist made me do several strengthening exercises for my neck. The purpose of this technique was to stabilize, limit, and control joint movement in certain areas of my body.
  1. Joint mobilization. My diagnosis showed that I have stiff neck joints, causing strain on some of my nerves. What my physiotherapist did was to loosen them using a joint traction and a localized manipulation joint technique. For quite some time, it was actually soothing to feel my neck muscles more relaxed. 
  1. Acupuncture and dry needling. I am not a fan of needles, but I was willing to do acupuncture to speed up my treatment. These two techniques were used to loosen up my tight and overactive muscles.
  1. Posture correction. I never knew that posture could directly affect my headaches. My physiotherapist told me that poor posture could affect the positioning and flexibility of joints and nerves, which cause the pain. To correct my posture, we did posture exercises and I sometimes wore a posture brace during therapy. 

After two months of physiotherapy, I can say that I immediately felt the positive effects. Following my second session, I noticed that they I experienced the headache only once a week. Personally, I found the exercises and the advice very helpful, though I may not speak for all. I am glad that I chose to do the less typical solution to headaches – visit a physiotherapist. All my time, money, and effort to religiously follow my scheduled appointments definitely paid off. 

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