If you suffer from headaches, you’re not alone. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, up to 75% of adults aged 18-65 years have had a headache in the last year. While there are many potential causes of headaches, one often-overlooked solution is manual physical therapy.
Manual physical therapy is a hands-on approach to treating musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. It involves a trained therapist using various techniques to manipulate your muscles, joints, and other soft tissues to improve your range of motion, alleviate pain, and promote healing.
Research has shown that manual physical therapy can be an effective treatment for headaches. Here are some of the ways it can help:
- Reducing muscle tension: Tension headaches are often caused by tight muscles in the neck and shoulders. Manual physical therapy can help release this tension and reduce the frequency and intensity of tension headaches.
- Improving posture: Poor posture can lead to muscle imbalances and tension in the neck, shoulders, back, and even legs which can contribute to headaches. Manual physical therapy can help improve your posture and reduce tension in these areas.
- Increasing blood flow: Reduced blood flow to the head and neck can cause headaches. Manual physical therapy techniques such as myofascial release can increase blood flow to these areas, helping to reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.
- Releasing trigger points: Trigger points are small areas of muscle fibers that have become tight and painful. They can refer pain to other areas of the body, including the head and neck. Manual physical therapy can help release these trigger points and alleviate headache pain.
- Decreasing stress: Stress can cause tension headaches, and manual physical therapy can help reduce stress levels. Techniques such as deep breathing and relaxation exercises can be incorporated into your therapy sessions to help you manage stress and reduce the frequency of headaches. If you suffer from headaches, it’s important to work with a trained manual physical therapist to determine the underlying cause of your pain and develop a personalized treatment plan. Manual physical therapy may be a valuable part of that plan, helping you find relief from headache pain and improve your quality of life.