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Like back pain, headaches are one of the most common physical complaints amongst the general population. Most headaches are harmless and will resolve on their own, but they can occur for a variety of reasons. The International Headache Society classifies four types of headaches: tension headaches, migraines, secondary headaches (meaning they are caused by some other factor that could include sinuses, disease, fever, tumors, etc.), and cranial neuralgia.
The most common type of headache in adults is a tension headache and can occur because of poor posture, neck or jaw problems, fatigue and stress. Any of these can cause tension in the muscles at the base of the skull, and this tension can cause pain to radiate into the top of the head, along the temples, or behind the eyes.
A physiotherapist can treat tension headaches by first discovering its cause. To do this, they will ask questions about any previous injuries as well as the patterns and behaviors of your symptoms. Then they will look at the range of motion in your neck, shoulders and other relevant parts of your body. They will analyse your posture in a variety of positions and use hands-on techniques to assess the mobility of the muscles and joints in your neck.
Then, they can use this information to help you change the causes of your headaches. Depending on an individual’s particular case, this can involve manual techniques that will improve mobility of muscles or joints. They will also likely teach you exercises to work on your own mobility at home. Often, our postures and daily routines cause us to develop over-worked and under-worked muscles. A physio is likely also to teach you exercises to strengthen the under-worked muscles. All of this will help you to understand and maintain better posture. If necessary, an examination of the mechanics used at your workstation or home office can help you to maintain your improved posture when in one position for prolonged periods.
If you suffer from headaches, you don’t have to. There are physios who would be glad to help you get to the bottom of what can be a very debilitating problem.