Looking to Rid Yourself of Stress-Related Headaches? We Can Help!
There is nothing worse than that feeling of having your head in a clamp. 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.
While reducing your stress level can often reduce your stress-related headaches, getting rid of the pressure you are under is not always practical.
Call Back to Work Physical Therapy today and find out how a physical therapist just may be the key to getting rid of stress-related headaches once and for all.
Physical therapy and headaches
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.
It may seem strange at first to see a physical therapist about a particular condition without having a surgical recovery plan. 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 look at your workstation 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.
Finally, 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.
Finally, they will give you pain-relieving techniques to do on your own whenever you experience tension headaches. These may include ice, heat, massage, stretching, or specific movements.
Why am I experiencing stress-related 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.
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.
Stress-related headaches can also vary widely in severity, although they’re rarely as debilitating as migraines. They tend to a generalized ache over a broad region of the head, as opposed to attacking a specific area such as the eye (a trademark of another type of headache called a cluster headache).
The tension that brings them on may stem from emotional stress (if that emotional stress creates chronic neck tightness), but it may also be caused by:
- Weak neck muscles that become fatigued easily
- “Text neck,” a strain disorder that occurs if you’re always drooping your head forward to look at your smartphone
- Repetitive motion or overuse from work or sports activities
- Secondary pain problems such as arthritis in the cervical spine
Stress-related headaches that bother you for more than 15 days out of the month for 3 months or more are considered a chronic pain condition.
So, what exactly are stress-related headaches?
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.
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.
Find relief today
Physical therapy strategies for treating stress-related headaches include:
- Exercises to strengthen your neck muscles, allowing them to hold the weight of your head more evenly and with less strain
- Postural and ergonomic advice to help you get rid of any bad habits that might be causing “text neck”
- Flexibility exercises, manual therapy, heat therapy and/or ice therapy
- Stress reduction measures such as yoga, lifestyle changes, and advice on how to reduce common stress triggers in your life.
If you are tired of stress-related headaches derailing your day, call Back to Work Physical Therapy to make an appointment with our physical therapist. You’ll be surprised by what a difference physical therapy can make.