What's Causing My Headaches?

September 12, 2019

 

 

Did you know that according to the National Headache Foundation, 45 million Americans get chronic, recurring headaches? This is more than the amount of people that suffer from coronary heart disease, diabetes, and asthma COMBINED (33 million). If you’re suffering from constant headaches and migraines, our hands-on physical therapists at our physical therapy in Ronkonkoma can give you the help and assistance you need! Contact United Rehab Physical Therapy to begin your treatment!

 

 

 

Types of Headaches

 

 

The word “headache” encompasses many things. There are many different types of headaches people may experience, as well as several causes that the pain can be attributed to:

 

  • Tension headaches - Tension headaches are described as a dull ache on both sides of the head, and some people feel as if they have a tight band around their head. This is the most common type of headache. 

  • Migraines - Migraines are usually experienced on one side of the head and cause a pulsing, throbbing pain. Additional symptoms may follow such as dizziness, nausea/vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound. 

  • Rebound headaches - Ironically, this type of headache results from a long-term overuse of medication to treat headaches. People may also experience neck pain, restlessness, or sleep disturbances. 

  • Cluster headaches - Cluster headaches cause a severe sharp pain usually in or around the eye. These can last anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours, and people can experience them suddenly up to eight times a day.

  • Thunderclap headaches - Thunderclap headaches are extremely intense; they appear and reach maximum intensity in under one minute. These are often indicative of a more serious medical condition. 

 

Some causes of headaches include:

 

  • Anxiety - Stress really takes a toll on your body and can easily trigger a headache. 

  • Diet - Certain foods trigger headaches for some. These foods can include cheese, alcohol, MSG, chocolate, caffeine, and others.

  • Medication - In addition to headache medication causing rebound headaches, pain may also be triggered by certain prescription medications. 

  • Hydration - Dehydration is one of the most common causes of headaches.

  • Sleeping patterns - Too much or too little sleep

  • Physical Activity - Overexerting yourself may cause blood vessels in your head and neck to swell, resulting in a headache. 

  • Posture - If you spend your days hunched over a desk, this could definitely be the cause of your headaches. Sit up straight and stretch out whenever you can!

  • Genetics - Migraines and cluster headaches typically run in families, so some people are born more susceptible.

 

 

What can you do?

 

  • Drink water

  • Limit alcohol 

  • Eat clean

  • Be sure to get adequate sleep 

  • Practice relaxation 

  • Apply ice for a migraine, heat for a tension headache 

  • Eliminate pressure on your head (ponytail, headband, hat, etc. may cause pain)

  • Try acupressure

  • Use lavender essential oil 

  • B-complex vitamin supplements, these help regulate neurotransmitters and may reduce migraine frequency.

 

Can physical therapy help?

 

If you’re looking to get down to the root your headaches, physical therapy is a great option for you! Our hands-on physical therapist will perform a full assessment to diagnose your headaches and what may be the cause of them. Once this is determined there are numerous treatments that could be used. Manual therapy is great for releasing tension and increase mobility. This is especially beneficial for the neck, as neck tension is a common cause of headaches. Other treatment may include strength training to provide support to the neck and shoulder, moist heat, massage therapy, cold compression therapy, soft tissue mobilization, and more. If you’re looking for physical therapy in Ronkonkoma, United Rehab Physical Therapy is the place for you. Our experienced and dedicated staff will help you take back your life. Schedule an appointment today and see the change!

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