Headaches: what to know

The British Medical Journal reports that headache affects 75% of people in any one year and 1 in 30 people have regular headaches lasting 6 months or more. Headaches can be really debilitating and affect your quality of life so below we discuss what they are and how private physiotherapy may help.

Why do we get headaches? 

There are several types of headache, the most common include: 

Migraine: this is usually a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on 1 side of the head.

Tension headaches: these are the most common type of headaches. They can cause mild, moderate, or intense pain behind your eyes and in your head and neck. Some people say that a tension headache feels like a tight band around their forehead. 

Cluster headaches: Cluster headaches are often described as excruciating attacks of pain in one side of the head, often felt around the eye. Cluster headaches are rare. Anyone can get them, but they’re more common in men and tend to start when a person is in their 30s or 40s.

Secondary headaches: these headaches are caused by underlying disease or injury. 

Migraine and cluster headaches are chemically or hormonally based and usually require medication and referral to a doctor. 

Factors such as stress and anxiety and poor workplace ergonomics can aggravate these types of headaches, as can poor diet, lack of exercise and muscle tension.

Did you know private physiotherapy can help with headaches? 

When you have a problem in the neck or back it can cause pain elsewhere in the body. Tension or tightness in neck or spinal muscles caused by poor posture can cause headaches and pain. 

What are the factors that contribute to the appearance of headaches? 

  • We often find that prolonged positions such as looking at a screen, or looking upwards or sideways for long periods can be troublesome. 
  • If you have had an injury such as a car accident in the past it may affect the way that you hold your neck resulting in a posture that triggers headaches. 
  • Stiffness and inflammation in the joints which put pressure on nerves and blood vessels serving the scalp are all contributory causes of head pain. 

There are various Physiotherapy treatments that have been proven to help with the relief of headaches: 

  • Massage 
  • Special joint mobilising techniques 
  • Acupuncture 
  • Taping of the body to add support and encourage a better position. 
  • We can advise on exercises to strengthen muscles and allow better posture. 
  • We provide analysis of work stations and sitting postures which is particularly important when working from home with limited options and resources. 

Ways to help yourself  

  • Try to sit at a table on a rsuitable chair. Ask your employer if you can collect a proper office chair if you are having to work from home. 
  • Ensure that your screen is at the correct height. Your eyes should line up with the top third of the screen looking slightly downwards. You may have to use books to raise the height of the screen.  
  • Use a cushion to give lower back support. 
  • Your feet should be flat on the floor-use a box or books if they don’t reach. 
  • Get a separate monitor or keyboard if you use a laptop. It’s difficult to sit properly on a laptop. 
  • Take regular breaks (remember you are missing the commute, walks around the office, seeing other staff, going out to buy coffee and lunch) 
  • Try to re-create some of your normal movement activities.  For example, go out at lunchtime, walk after work, stand up often and keep your body moving. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids preferably water. It’s important to maintain hydration to reduce the risk of headache. 

If you are suffering with headaches, then give us a call today. We can help.