Your Physical Therapist can help you identify the best strategies to reduce the number and severity of your headaches.
Identify Headache Triggers
Jot down things that cause your headaches or make them worse. Some common triggers include poor sleep, missed meals, fatigue, hormone changes, weather, certain foods or beverages, over-activity, under-activity, or other things not on this list. A headache diary may also help you track your responses to changes in activities or treatment of your headaches.
Pinpoint the triggers you can control and which ones you can’t. “Titrate” the triggers you can control (like foods) relative to the impact of those you can’t (like weather.)
Stress comes in many forms and can be anything that makes extra demands on your brain or body. Some things known to help with stress management include keeping a healthy diet, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, asking others for help.
Try to identify strong emotions and learn best how to deal with them. This may mean working with a trained professional, reading good self-help materials, working on breathing techniques.
Minimize Intensity and Impact
React early. Use the right medications at the right time. Avoid activities that increase headache intensity. Reduce negative thoughts. Use specific self-treatment strategies, as recommended by your Physical Therapist.
Adapted from the Institute of Health Economics, Alberta Canada
Take Charge of Your Headaches!
Your Doctor and Physical Therapist Can Help
Nearly half of all adults have headaches. Tension-type headache is the most prevalent headache, and migraine is the most common type of severe, recurring headache. Sometimes, headaches are a mixture of multiple headache types.
Your doctor and physical therapist will help identify patterns that explain your headache type. You doctor will guide you to appropriate medical management including medications if necessary. Your physical therapist will provide treatment to reduce contributing musculoskeletal factors and triggers and may teach you how to heal your over-taxed pain system. Your physical therapist will also educate you about self-care strategies specific to your problem to help restore your quality of life!