If you’ve ever experienced the sensation that your head is smashed in a clamp, chances are you knew straight away that what you were experiencing was a headache. However, did you know that there are different types of headaches, and this one is referred to as a stress-related headache?
Headache pain can keep you from enjoying your life. Whether the pain starts in your neck, the back of your head or front and center behind your eyes, stress headaches can derail your entire day.
We’d all like to think that something as simple as reducing your levels of stress can reduce your stress headaches, however, getting rid of all the work and life-related pressure you are under is not always practical. The good news is that physical therapy may be able to help your condition.
Call our office today and find out how a physical therapist just may be the key to getting rid of stress-related headaches once and for all!
What is a stress-related headache?
Stress-related headaches, also known as tension headaches, feel like a dull ache or pressure in your forehead or in the back of your neck or head.They occur when the neck and scalp muscles contract or become tense. Lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to days at a time, this type of headache is the most common kind of headache in adults.
Tension headaches often start in the middle of the day, in the back of your head and can spread forward as time goes on. They often appear as a result of high-stress levels, poor posture, neck or jaw problems, fatigue, or arthritis. It’s also possible to experience them when feeling anxious or depressed.
Sometimes, you may even feel pain on your face along your jaw and cheeks when experiencing this kind of headache. Many people have compared this type of pain to wearing a tight hat, having their hair tightly pulled back, or having their head squeezed.
Although many headaches will dissipate on their own and don’t need medical intervention, if you’re experiencing severe headaches right now as a result of increased stress levels, it’s time to see a professional.
Common causes of stress-related headaches
Plenty of things can cause a person to become stressed. A hard day at work, loud sounds, feeling disorganized, the list goes on and on. But what about the physical aspect of stress? How we carry our bodies when we’re stressed out and not paying attention can be the cause of headaches.
Poor posture, drawing your shoulders toward your ears, tense muscles in your back and neck, and fatigue can all contribute to the poor body positioning that often causes stress headaches.
While most headaches do not have a definitive cause, stress-related headaches are often triggered by either a singular stressful event or a buildup of tension over the course of the day. That is why they tend to happen at mid-day, when stress buildup has already occurred. This timing tells us that what is causing the problem is not the stressful event itself, but rather the way our body is positioned as we experience it.
Physical therapy can decrease the amount of headaches you’re having
It may seem strange at first to see a physical therapist about a particular condition when you’ve never seen one before. Physical therapists are experts in body mechanics, and can absolutely help you discover the cause of your headaches and prevent them from coming back constantly.
If you experience chronic stress headaches (more than 15 per month) or are simply tired of taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for tension headaches, physical therapy can address the underlying structural cause. I However, physical therapy addresses all movement and posture problems, not just those that happen after surgery.
First, a physical therapist will evaluate your posture, body strength and movement. They may also ask you to take photos of your work station and bring them to your appointment to see if poor posture throughout the day is contributing to your headaches. Next, they will prescribe a series of stretches to do throughout the day to give your body a chance to reset its position.
Lastly, they may give you a series of strengthening exercises to do on your own to strengthen the muscles in your stomach, back, shoulders, and hips so you can hold your body properly as you work. You’ll be provided with several pain relieving techniques to do on your own whenever you experience tension headaches. These may include ice, heat, massage, stretching, or specific movements.
Ready to find true pain relief from stress-related headaches?
If you are tired of stress-related headaches derailing your day, it’s time to say “No more!” once and for all. Call Physical Therapy of Rocky Hill to make an appointment with our physical therapist. You’ll be surprised by what a difference physical therapy can make.
- Common posture mistakes and fixes – NHSwww.nhs.uk › Live Well › Exercise
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