Headaches & Neck Pain
Physical therapy is commonly prescribed for individuals who experience headaches. The physical therapist will complete a comprehensive musculoskeletal exam to determine which structures are contributing to the symptoms. The exam includes assessment of: range of motion of the head/neck, joint mobility, musculature tightness, tenderness, trigger points, strength and endurance of the deep neck flexor muscles, strength and
endurance of the axioscapular muscles, and posture. The physical therapist will also include other appropriate tests and measures.
Based on the results of the examination, the physical therapist will then design a specific treatment plan. The physical therapist will likely perform manual therapy techniques in order to decrease pain and increase the movement of the head/neck. In addition to manual therapy techniques, physical therapy treatment will include the performance of exercises to increase the strength and endurance of the deep neck flexor muscles. Additional exercises are performed in physical therapy to promote strength and endurance of the neck muscles and upper back muscles. Other physical therapy interventions used to address cervicogenic headache include, and are not limited to: soft tissue massage, cardiovascular exercise, education on posture and body mechanics, stretching, and pain relieving modalities.