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Physical therapy for headaches
Headache is the leading doctors’ office complaint today. Some people suffer relentlessly with headaches for years without relief. But this often represents needless suffering when certain issues have been overlooked and left untreated. Physical therapy is now emerging as a leading approach to headache control, providing positive results in a very cost-effective manner.
Posture and movement problems at the neck and jaw are a very common source of headaches. The jaw is mechanically part of the neck. The position of the neck affects the position of the jaw where it attaches to the skull. This jaw joint (the TMJ) is one of the most sensitive joints in the body because it helps control balance.
The TMJ is filled with very sensitive nerves. Nerves coursing through the upper neck and jaw run up the back of the head to the scalp all the way to the eyebrows. These nerves can cause muscle pains in the scalp, neck and jaw. These nerves also affect blood vessels that can lead to migraine. The role of the neck interacting with the jaw is a very common, but usually overlooked, cause of headaches.
The jaw joint (TMJ) has a disc in the joint that can shift abnormally due to a jaw muscle that has quit working properly, causing many headaches. This is easily corrected with a simple exercise. A simple change is tongue and jaw posture restores alignment of the disc. The jaw is attached to the neck by several muscles used in swallowing.
A neck problem causing a slouched forward head posture can pull the jaw out of alignment. Conversely, a jaw problem can cause neck posture to change, increasing neck strain that pinches the occipital nerve that runs from the upper neck up the back of the head, causing headaches.
One of the most common causes of headache that is being seen more recently is wearing bifocal glasses while working on a computer. Bifocals are made for reading a book. Using these to read an upright computer screen requires one to lean forward and tip the head slightly backward to read the screen. This stresses the upper neck and TMJ, leading to headaches. Simple changes in computer ergonomics and eyeglasses design, combined with two simple stretches will usually correct the headache problem.
Physical therapists specialize in treating people with movement and posture disorders of the nerve-muscle-skeletal systems.
The physical therapist can evaluate the neck and jaw to identify posture and movement problems that cause headaches. These posture-movement problems are usually easily corrected with a few very simple exercises and posture tricks. Headaches that have lasted for years can often be reduced or eliminated, usually in only two or three physical therapy sessions.
For lots more detailed information on this topic, go to www.smartcarept.com.