Suffering From Headaches? How Physical Therapy Can Help!



We can all agree that headaches will make your day 10x’s worse. They can affect your daily activities and quality of life. Did you know that Physical Therapy can actually help relieve you of frequent headaches? Before we tell you how we want to go over the different types of headaches and how we can help you prevent them!

Listed below are different types of headaches that YOU may be suffering from:

  • Stress (Tension) Headache: This is the most common headache people experience
  • Post- Traumatic
  • Hormone
  • Cluster
  • Caffeine
  • Migraine or sinus
  • Exertion
  • Hypertension
  • Rebound

Tension Headaches

Are the most common type of headache. They may result in neck or jaw problems, poor posture or stress.

This can lead to tension on in the muscles at the back of the head and to increased pressure on the nerves to the face and head. Poor posture can cause these muscles to become overworked, which can trigger a headache.

A tension headache typically starts at the back of the head and spreads to the top of the head and the eyes.

Cluster Headaches

Can be characterized by severe burning and piercing pain. They usually occur around or behind one eye or on one side of the face at a time. Sometimes swelling, redness, flushing, and sweating can occur on the side that’s affected by the headache. Nasal congestion and eye tearing also often occur on the same side as the headache.


Migraines are intense pulsing from deep within your head. This pain can last for days. The headache significantly limits your ability to carry out your daily routine. Migraines are throbbing and usually one-sided. If you experience migraines you often are sensitive to light and sound. Nausea and vomiting also usually occur.

Exertion Headache

This type of headache will happen quickly after periods of intense physical activity. Weight lifting, running, and high cardio workouts are all common triggers for an exertion headache. It’s thought that these activities cause increased blood flow to your skull, which can lead to a throbbing headache on both sides of your head.

Rebound Headache

Also known as medication overuse headaches, can feel like a dull, tension-type headache, or they may feel more intensely painful, like a migraine.

Doctor Discussing Medicine in His Clinic With a Patient

How Physical Therapy Can Help:

Our Physical Therapist will conduct a thorough examination that includes a review of your health history.  They may ask you questions and will perform tests to determine the most likely cause of your headaches. For example, your therapist might:

Ask you:
To recall any previous injuries to your neck, head, or jaw
The location, nature, and behavior of your pain and other symptoms
To draw your areas of pain on a body diagram
Perform tests of muscle strength and sensation
Examine your posture when sitting, standing, and performing various activities
Measure the range of motion of your neck, shoulders, and other relevant parts of your body
Use manual therapy to evaluate the mobility of the joints and muscles in your neck.

If it appears that you do have tension-type headaches, your physical therapist will work with you to design a plan of care to meet your goals. If the evaluation indicates that you may have a different type of headache our Physical Therapist will refer you to another healthcare professional to run additional test.

Your physical therapist will not only help you with your frequent headaches and pain but also improve neck mobility, improve posture and improve your strength.

Dutch Physical Therapy offers free consultations. If you have any questions about frequent headaches, neck or back pain please give us a call or visit any of our three locations to speak with a professional!

To learn more about different types of headaches and how PT may be the right treatment option for you check out these articles below!