Headaches Portland, OR


Headaches Getting You Down? Physical Therapy Can Help

Did you know you can find headache relief with physical therapy?

Heachaches: Tension Headaches. Cluster Headaches. Post-traumatic (Post-concussion) Headaches. Chronic Daily Headaches. Migraine Headaches. These are some of the more common of over 150 different types of headaches that exist.

Occasional or frequent tension headaches are experienced by upwards of 80 to 90% of people in the U.S. And headaches are the third most commonly reported cause of pain across the world.

While physical therapy isn’t normally someone’s first thought when experiencing a headache, there are treatments physical therapy provides that can prove helpful for some types of headaches. Most often, the common behavior is to take some form of pain-relieving medication, either over-the-counter or a prescription from the doctor.

Don’t get us wrong, medication is important. Especially in some types of headaches that are related to causes that physical therapy is not a viable course of care. But for headaches that physical therapy treatment is helpful for, medications may help to relieve pain in the short-term. However, if you are suffering from headaches or migraines regularly, pain relieving drugs will not provide you with the same long-term effects that physical therapy can.

A greater majority of headaches are attributed to what is known as “Cervicogenic Headaches”, meaning that they are related to the neck – the cervical spine – in some manner. Also common are Tension Headaches (aka ‘Musculoskeletal Headaches’). More details below.

If you are in Portland, OR and suffer from headaches and need physical therapy, don’t hesitate to contact us. Whether your headaches are acute and temporary, or constant and chronic (such as migraines), headaches can be treated with physical therapy at Rose City Physical Therapy. Request your appointment today!

Do you have one of these headaches?

There are over 150 different types of headaches! All develop from different causes. Two main types of headaches that physical therapy can really help include:

Tension Headaches

The most common type of headache is known as a Tension Headache, or Musculoskeletal Headache. Those with tension headaches tend to report a tight band or tourniquet feeling around their head. It can cause anywhere from mild to severe pain behind the eyes and in the head and neck. These are often confused with Migraine Headaches; however a migraine often presents itself with throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head, as well as nausea and vomiting. That which tension headaches do not present with. 

Tension headaches most often occur due to stress, repetitive motions or poor posture, and tension in the neck. This tension is thought to cause strain on the dura mater, a sensitive membrane that envelops the brain. The dura mater lies in close proximity to the suboccipital muscles – small muscles at the base of the skull – that go into spasm when the dura mater becomes strained, thus sending pain signals to the brain and causing your headache. Emotional stress can also be a contributing factor.

Also, a traumatic injury to the neck, such as whiplash, is a common cause of tension headaches. With neck injuries such as whiplash, the muscles and connective tissues in the neck can become strained and go into spasm, which leads to agonizing pain felt in the head, behind the eyes, as well as in the face, shoulders, or neck.

Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic headaches are related to pain and dysfunction at the neck involving the top three vertebrae of the neck (cervical spine) and the upper cervical muscles. There is often an imbalance in both the soft tissue extensibility (flexibility) as well as strength of the neck muscles, with the front muscles stretched and weak, and the muscles at the back of the neck, high under the base of the skull, tight.

These headaches can develop after injury or trauma such as a motor vehicle accident or concussion. Arthritis, work-related injury or repetitive strain can also trigger a cervicogenic headache. Professions that require a downward looking posture or motion of the head or neck are most prone for developing cervicogenic headaches. Examples include hair stylists, long-haul drivers, chefs, nail artists, jewelers, and desk workers.

How will physical therapy help me?

If you are suffering from headaches, contact our Portland, OR physical therapy office today. We are centrally located in Northwest Portland in the Slabtown neighborhood and adjacent to The Pearl District. At Rose City Physical Therapy, we are dedicated to providing you with the best treatments and recovery for your headaches.

At your initial appointment, one of our highly trained physical therapists will conduct a physical evaluation and ask you questions about your past and current health history, medications and symptoms; all which have a strong indicator of what type of headache you are experiencing and where the pain originates from.

An individualized treatment plan will then be designed specifically for you. Our physical therapists are highly skilled in hands-on manual therapy techniques which are key to balancing your neck mobility, posture, and restoring tightness at the individual joints of the neck. Imperative also is an active approach through proper corrective exercise, education, and a home program for ongoing self-management.

Ready to find pain relief?

To request your appointment, contact us today to speak to one of our Portland, OR physical therapists.

At Rose City Physical Therapy, treatment for headaches focuses on relieving and learning to manage the pain, improving posture, learning to engage the important stabilizer muscles of the neck, and strengthening muscles in the neck and upper back. All which will help make daily life much more comfortable and bearable – without the pain of headaches!