Tension Headaches

Three physical therapy treatments to help relieve tension headaches

An occasional headache is a normal part of life, but long-lasting and frequently recurring headaches are signs of an issue that needs to be addressed. Living with a headache every day is no way to live. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help.

Treatments for tension headaches vary depending on the cause and severity of the headache. However, in many cases, physical therapy can help.

Understanding tension headaches

A tension headache is the most common primary headache disorder in the world. Typically, a tension headache is related to stress or associated with musculoskeletal problems in the neck. 

Tension headaches are frequently described as a feeling of pressure or tightness, often like a band around the head that spreads into or from the neck. Such headaches can be caused by stress, fatigue, poor posture, and neck or jaw injuries.

Treating tension headaches with physical therapy

Often, physical therapy treatments will focus on three areas: improved posture, improved strength in the upper back, neck and shoulders, and improved mobility in the neck and spine. Physical therapists have a variety of techniques they use to reach these goals, including:

  • Stretching and exercising — Stronger and more flexible muscles in the neck and upper back help to support your spine and head. This helps reduce pressure off the nerves in your spine, which is a cause of tension headaches.
  • Posture guidance — Poor posture puts additional strain on the spine that can be prevented by simply improving the way you sit, stand and sleep. Your physical therapist can examine your sitting, standing and sleeping posture to identify areas that need improvement. They can guide you through ways to make these improvements to help keep headaches at bay.
  • Manual therapy — Physical therapists can use manual therapy (which is a series of hands-on techniques) to help work out tension and scar tissue in your neck muscles, tendons and ligaments. 

Visit SOL today for tension headache treatment

Do you suffer from frequent or intense tension headaches? Our team at SOL can help. We can provide a personalized treatment routine to help you reach your recovery goals and live a life with less head pain. Contact our team today for more information about treating tension headaches or to schedule an initial appointment.

About the author

Sports + Orthopedic Leaders Physical Therapy & Performance Training serves the communities of Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Orinda, San Francisco and beyond. SOLPT’s award winning team of Physical Therapists, Performance Coaches and movement experts has helped thousands reach their rehabilitation and performance goals to move beyond pain. We're committed to helping anyone of any fitness level move effectively and more powerfully for a lifetime. We offer rehabilitation and performance services to all populations, with specialties in Sports Rehabilitation, Active Release Techniques, and Manual Therapy Techniques plus Personal and Small Group Training, Sport Clinics and Wellness Services.

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