How Do Physical and Recreational Therapy Treat Headaches?

A multi-pronged approach is the best plan for dealing with migraines and other chronic headaches. One of the most effective parts of a treatment plan is physical therapy programs. These programs are used as a complementary component of a treatment plan, along with medication and other forms of therapy. Physical therapy treatment can reduce or eliminate pain and restore function and movement to the neck, shoulders and other parts of the body.

Advanced physical therapy programs include passive and active forms of physical therapy, working in concert with each other. As its name implies, passive physical therapy includes methods of affecting the soft tissues of the body without the patient actively manipulating them. These methods include:

  • Steroid creams
  • Heat and ice packs
  • TENS treatments
  • Massage therapy
  • Ultrasound

Active physical therapy exercises are those in which the patient has an active role. These exercises focus on stretching, increasing range of motion, and relieving pain. Active physical therapy programs can also include strengthening exercises and low-impact aerobics.

Recreational therapy combines the positive aspects of active physical therapy with the psychological advantages of positive reinforcement and learning coping behaviors. In these types of programs, patients concentrate on doing tasks that combine either useful or enjoyable activities with physical movement. Physical therapy programs that combine physical exercise with games or hobbies encourage patients to do more on their own, and they often result in quicker and easier recovery times.

Types of Physical Therapy Programs

The best physical therapy programs for each patient are determined, in part, by what type of headache pain the patient is dealing with. If the headache pain involves the neck, back or jaw, back physical therapy can bring a lot of relief by relieving tension and reducing pain in soft tissues. The stress and tension in these tissues are often the main cause of some patients’ migraines, so these types of physical therapy programs can be useful in preventing migraines before they begin.

The occipital nerves begin at the top of the neck and go up the scalp and neck and exit the spine at the back of the head. If the patient’s headaches involve occipital nerve pain, cervical physical therapy can give a lot of relief. When cervical issues are involved, physical therapy programs that include posture correction can reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.

If migraines or other headaches are causing you stress, it’s often useful to take advantage of physical and recreational therapy. These types of advanced physical therapy programs can help with relaxation of tense muscles, especially if deep tissue massage is included in the mix.

Adkins Headache Center: Physical and Recreational Therapy

At Adkins Headache Center, we custom-tailor treatment plans for each individual patient. We take into account life conditions and lifestyles, age, medical histories, past injuries and even family situations when creating your treatment options.  Our doctor will thoroughly evaluate you, including a physical examination and any necessary diagnostics. Following this evaluation, we will refer you to licensed physical therapists who will work to develop the physical therapy programs that are best designed to deal with your migraine or other headache problem.

The physical and recreational therapists will consult with family members to design and put into practice hobbies, behaviors and activities that will both be enjoyable and work toward your eventual recovery.

We will teach you to improve your physical and cognitive skills, as well as your emotional and social well-being. We’ll use a variety of techniques to teach you these skills, with an aim toward reducing or resolving your headaches and dealing with the problem better while still in treatment.

Physical Therapy Programs