Headaches can strike at any time – without invite or warning – and if you’re anything like the majority of people out there, they can often affect your mood, energy levels, and general wellbeing. For some, though, headaches can be more than a passing inconvenience, with pain and discomfort lasting for a much longer time than expected despite pain meds, rest, and other treatments. The truth is, the cause of these ‘everlasting’ headaches can sometimes be traced back to an increased intake of caffeine, general dehydration, and oftentimes posture. And yet, it can be easier said than done when it comes to treating them on your own, even if you do know the likely cause. In this post, then, we lend a helping hand with a few tips as to how to treat headaches that just won’t go away; we want to show you how you can get a pain free life back, right now.
Headaches have a unique way of blindsiding us as we do our shopping, take a walk around the park, or grab some water from the cooler at work. The fact is, we just never know when we might experience the throbbing, aching sensations associated with them. Thankfully, though, there are ways of mitigating both their frequency and strength, and, as we’re about to show you, headaches don’t need to be feared.
The first port of call when it comes to treating existing headaches and staving off potential future ones is to work on your posture. Why? Well, your posture has a lot to do with how much stress is placed on your muscles, and that includes those muscles in your back and neck. When those particular muscles are strained or overcompensate on one side of your body – as when you carry your handbag or backpack over one shoulder – they may become tight and cause a domino effect leading to ongoing headaches. Therefore, the best way to tackle your headaches may well be to start with stretches and exercises that support the back and neck muscles. Strengthening those muscles, as well as your core muscles, via walking, cycling, swimming, or jogging, will set you on the right track. Keep your body supple and flexible and you’ll be amazed at how infrequent your headaches become.
Next in line is addressing your fluid intake. Not only is drinking enough water critical for the optimum function of your muscles, tissues, and organs, but a lack of aqua actually leaves you vulnerable to disease, viruses, and yes… headaches. Why is that? Well, nutrients and vitamins are often water soluble, meaning a lack of water results in an inadequate uptake of essential nutrients. Headaches can be the result of low electrolyte levels, high blood pressure, and even just increased sugar levels in the blood; drinking enough water and minerals facilitates the healthy maintenance of your blood circulatory system and thereby halts headaches in their tracks. Remember, pain is always an indication that there is an underlying issue – drink enough water to ‘rinse’ toxins from your body. Try drinking close to 2.5L a day, though aim for more if you’re exercising or training.
And on that note… limit your stress! You hear this daily, I’m sure, but stress contributes directly to your headaches. The more you stress, the more strain is placed on your muscles, overall body function, and brain health. Headaches function as the body’s alarm system when it comes to stress. So, if you’re not sleeping, not eating well, not moving enough, and not taking time out of your crazy schedule to relax, then it’s time to make a change. Relax your body, relax your mind, and say goodbye to headaches!
Having given you this advice, we understand that dealing with headaches can be daunting – especially if you’ve lived with their debilitating effects for a long period of time. Headaches, migraines, and everything in between can have a negative effect on your overall quality of life, and we want to help. You’d never have imagined that physical therapy could target headaches, did you? Well, it can, and not only that, it’s one of the most effective treatments for them. How? Well, your headaches may in fact be the cause of something entirely unexpected – from muscle pain, to stress, to improper posture – and physical therapy helps you find and treat the root cause of the problem. Unlike painkillers or massages, physical therapy doesn’t just treat the pain… it treats the cause. And once the cause is treated, the headaches will dissipate.
The fact is, physical therapy also equips you with the tools needed to reprogram your daily activities. From how much water to drink, what stretches to do, how to sit, stand, drive, and walk, and even how to hold your phone or the book you’re reading, physical therapy can teach you all of that. For a qualified, professional, hands-on physical therapist, treating headaches isn’t just about getting rid of the pain, it’s about setting you up for a lifelong journey of health and longevity in order to prevent that pain from returning in the first place.
If you’re not sure about where to start when it comes to treating your headaches, or if you’re worried, anxious, or have been defeated by daily, debilitating pain, then we invite you to chat to one of our friendly physical therapists, right now. It’s time that you get the answers you need in order to make the changes necessary for a life free of pain. Don’t allow headaches to underscore important activities in your life – take charge and start living free of pain that won’t seem to go away.
"We help active adults and athletes get back to doing the activities they love, without relying on painkillers or injections."
Shaheen Siddiqui, PT
Specialist Physical Therapist