Mansfield Physical Therapy Services              
Where patients come to feel better not worse.

Headaches


Headaches are common and often the result of foods, stress, muscle tension, hormonal fluctuations, nerve compression, and cervical spine or Temporomandibular (jaw) joint dysfunction. According to the International Classification of Headaches Disorders, headaches are divided into primary, secondary, and cranial neuralgias.
Primary headaches include migraines and tension headaches. Secondary headaches are called Cervicogenic headaches (CGH) and are defined as referred pain in any part of the head caused by musculoskeletal tissues innervated by cervical nerves C1-C4. They are frequently associated with chronic tension or acute whiplash injury, invertebral disc disease, or arthritis. Following is a description of different types of headaches and their symptoms:

1. Tension
Described as dull pressure
Sensation of band around the head
Headache is bilateral or global (entire head)
Muscular tension or soreness in the neck
May get worse with loud sounds or bright lights
Can be associated with anxiety, depression and panic disorder

2. Cervicogenic
Pain starts in the occipital region (under the skull) and spreads towards the forehead. Usually symmetrical on both sides, but could be on one side.
Pain intensity fluctuates from mild to severe
Often made worse with neck movements or sustained posture/positions. Can resemble migraines with throbbing pain, nausea, light and sound sensitivity.
Jaw misalignment may also be the cause of headaches.

3. Migraine

Could be pain free (silent migraines), however associated with nausea, vomiting, dizziness. This type of headache is often described as throbbing, pulsating or with ups and downs. Often one sided, often behind or around the eye.
Common triggers:
*Alcohol
*Foods
*Hunger
*Hormonal changes
*Lack of sleep or change in sleeping patter
*Perfume
*Stress
*Medications
*Environmental factors (pollutants, air pressure change, temperature)
*Motor weakness
*Dizziness
*Paresthesias

4. Clusters
Excruciating pain, generally located in or around one eye, buy may radiate to other areas of your face, head, neck and shoulders
Strikes quickly usually without warning
One-sided pain
Restlessness
Excessive tearing
Redness in your eye on the affected side
Stuffy or runny nasal passage in your nostril on the affected side of your face
Sweaty, pale skin (pallor) on your face
Swelling around your eye on the affected side of your face
Drooping eyelid

The pain of a cluster headache is often described as sharp, penetrating or burning. People with this condition say that the pain feels like a hot poker being struck in the eye or that the eye is being pushed out of its socket. People with cluster headaches appear restless. They may pace or sit through the attack. In contrast to people with migraines, people with cluster headaches usually avoid lying down during an attack because this position seems to increase the pain. Some migrainlike symptoms-including nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and aura – may occur with a cluster headache, though usually on one side.


Treatment for Headaches at Mansfield Physical Therapy.

Both tension and cervicogenic headaches are helped significantly through physical therapy. With both traditional approaches of body posture awareness, exercise, soft tissue mobilization/release, and with more integrative techniques utilizing craniosacral therapy and manual therapy, the staff at Mansfield Physical Therapy has had a high success rate at resolving both acute and chronic symptoms of headaches. Patients who have lived with headaches for years start to notice reduction in the frequency and intensity in just a few days to several weeks. Our staff is also well experienced in working with release of the jaw that may be creating imbalance in the cranial bones resulting in headaches and tension.