Understanding Headaches

How to take back control of your health and reduce or eliminate your need for medication.

What Is A Headache?

If you have landed on this page, chances are you are looking for a non-medication approach to headache relief. First off, we want to say that we feel for you. Headaches are the worst! Whatever they keep you from (being a mom, enjoying the mountains, a successful career, etc.) we want to help you get back to that. This page is meant to provide you with hope that you are not crazy, you are not untreatable and these headaches don’t have to control your life. 

So, what is a headache? 

Headaches are a very common condition that most people will experience many times during their lives. The main symptom of a headache is a pain in your head or face. This can be throbbing, constant, sharp or dull. Headaches result from pain signals that can originate from the neck, jaw, shoulders or a number of other sources. Headaches can be complex, but don’t worry we have seen nearly every type. 

Headache symptoms vary based on the type of headache you have. While there are over 150 different classifications of headaches, some of the most common headache symptoms include:

  • Pressure in the face
  • Increased discomfort with movement
  • Throbbing or pounding in the head
  • Pain in the forehead in a strap like presentation
  • Ice pick sensations in the temple or eye
  • Burning/nerve pain
  • Ram’s horn presentation

Because there is still much to be discovered in the world of headaches it is important to do two things:

First – the most conservative treatments should always come first

Second – all sources of pain should be evaluated in order to guide the proper treatment

Why Does The Current Approach Fail?

It is important to understand that the neck is frequently an overlooked source of migraine symptoms

When a patient presents with headaches or migraines the initial diagnosis will be based off of that patient’s symptoms. This means that we use X-ray, MRI and/or CT to make sure you aren’t suffering from anything life threatening, but when those tests are negative our system leaves you wandering. 

It’s a frustrating process.

Many people never find a straight answer as to where their pain is coming from.

Does this sound familiar:

Medication after medication that hopes to reduce the frequency or intensity of your pain. If that medication works it’s either too costly and/or comes with side-effects that make you feel even worse. 

Don’t worry, there is hope. We have treated over 600 people with all types of headaches and migraines successfully without any medications. Most people come to us thinking they are a lost cause, nothing can help, they’ve tried everything. If that sounds like you, your’e in the right place.

Believe it or not: headaches, dizziness, jaw pain, nausea, light/sound sensitivities and visual disturbances all come about because of restrictions in the neck.

What kind of treatment do we provide?

This may surprise you but we are doctors of physical therapy. It’s a good thing!

You need a provider that can evaluate and restore function to your neck, jaw and shoulders.

We provide full examinations of the body’s movement, but for headache and migraine patients we look more specifically at the neck. We then evaluate where your pain is coming from, or to put it another way, we discover “which tissue is the issue.” We want to educate you on each structure, i.e the joint, muscle, connective tissue, or nerve, what their role is, and which ones are contributing most to your pain.

That means hands on treatment, joint mobilizations (we get joints to move), to improve movement and treat trigger points in the muscles. We can also provide dry needling to those trigger points, if needed. These treatments take stress off of the nerves that are ultimately sending pain signals to your brain, causing your headache and migraine symptoms. We can then guide you through specific exercises that you do on your own to maintain the movement improvements made during each session. We do not provide medications or Botox, and many of our patients wean off of their medication entirely.

Here’s a helpful Free PDF

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