Headaches can be caused or worsened by a number of different factors, but one of the most common headache triggers is stress. That’s because stress can impact you physically, mentally and emotionally, all of which can cause havoc in your body and lead to the onset of a headache. Fortunately, you don’t need to turn to opioids or an expensive specialist in order to find relief from your stress headaches. All you need to do is connect with a physical therapist.
In today’s blog, we take a closer look at how a physical therapist can help you prevent and treat stress-related headaches.
PT For Stress Headaches
Stress can lead to headache onset in a number of different ways. Fortunately, physical therapists specialize in figuring out the underlying cause of your headache and developing a plan to treat it. Here’s a look at some of the more common reasons for stress headache onset, and how a PT can help you overcome these root causes.
- Underdeveloped Neck Muscles – If the muscles and soft tissues in your neck are weak, or if they are damaged by an injury like whiplash, they may no longer be able to support your head as needed. This means that other nearby structures have to help pick up the slack, and they can be overburdened by stress and tension as a result of the weakened tissues. Your physical therapist can help develop a strength training program to develop these soft tissues in your neck so that they can handle all the stress you throw at it.
- Posture Problems – Physical stress in the neck area can also be the result of poor posture habits. If you constantly have your neck positioned in front of or behind your shoulders, your neck muscles are going to have to work harder to support your head. Even if they are well developed, these tissues weren’t built to handle stress for a long period of time while you have bad posture. This can serve to damage structures and cause headaches to develop. We can work to help correct postural imbalances and teach you how to make the necessary corrections on your own.
- Improved Flexibility – Research has also shown that a number of stress headaches can be traced back to limited neck mobility, as this too can affect how well your neck tissues handle and disperse physical stress. Your PT team can help slowly expand your neck’s range of motion so that it can safely handle stress and movement.
- Stress Mitigation Techniques – As we alluded to above, mental and emotional stress can also lead to the onset of stress headaches, so your physical therapist can help you find healthy ways to manage this stress. Mental stress can cause our muscles and soft tissues to tense up and contract, meaning they are no longer in a relaxed state. Similar to how posture problems can cause headaches, so too can tense muscles if you’re constantly under stress. We can help teach you how to effectively manage this stress so that these muscle groups can relax.
Everyone deals with stress on a daily basis, but it could be causing more body issues than we realize if we’re not cognizant of how physical, mental and emotional stress can take a toll on us. If you’re dealing with chronic headaches or irregular migraines, consider syncing up with a specialist to see if unaddressed stress could be causing your headaches. For more information, or for help with a different physical issue, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (651) 430-3800.
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