; charset=UTF-8" /> Tension Headache Physical Therapy | SSOR

Three physical therapy stretches for tension headaches

Tension Headache Physical Therapy

Tension headaches are almost an epidemic in the U.S. One article published by the American Medical Association (AMA) reported that 69% of men and 88% of women in this country are affected by this type of headache every year. One way to both treat tension headaches and reduce their frequency is to reduce tension in the neck muscles. There are three effective tension headache physical therapy stretches that can help reduce this tension: 

1.   Forward and backward tilt

Your neck muscles are connected to nerves that also run into your head, and this means that tension in the neck muscles can cause frequent tension headaches. The forward and backward tilt is one tension headache physical therapy stretch that can help decrease neck muscle tension. 

To begin this stretch, sit up straight and place your head squarely over your shoulders. Then, slowly lower your chin toward your chest. Hold this stretch for about 20 seconds and breathe deeply in and out. After 20 seconds, slowly return your head to the start position. To stretch the muscles in the front of your neck, tilt your head backward so that your chin points toward the ceiling. Hold the backward tilt for another 20 seconds. Then, return to the start position again. 

2.   Side tilt

The upper trapezius, or trap, is a muscle that runs from the edge of your shoulder blade to the base of your skull. Tension in this muscle can cause tension headaches, but the side tilt is a tension headache physical therapy stretch that can target this muscle. 

Start off with your head centered over your shoulders again. Slowly let your head tilt to the left and stop when you feel a stretch on the right side of your neck. Make sure you aren’t raising your shoulder here because this reduces the effectiveness of the stretch. After about 10 seconds of stretching, tilt your head back up to the start position. Then, repeat these steps by tilting your head to the left to stretch the left trap too. 

3.   Side rotation

Side rotation stretches are a tension headache physical therapy stretch intended to target the traps and rhomboids. Begin the stretch by moving your head so that it’s centered over the shoulders. Then, slowly turn your head to the right until you feel a stretch in the left side of your neck and left shoulder. Hold this stretch for about 15 seconds. When the 15 seconds are up, turn your head back to the front, and then repeat the same steps on your right side. For the best possible stretch, you may want to repeat this exercise up to 10 times on each side. 

SSOR offers many types of tension headache physical therapy

At SSOR, we know how tough it can be to deal with regular tension headaches. Our team is ready to build you a personalized treatment plan that could help reduce the frequency of your headaches. This and other benefits are possible for you thanks to therapy techniques like: 

  • Manual therapy
  • Therapeutic stretches
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Ergonomic recommendations

Contact us today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment to start treating your tension headaches.