Physical Therapy for Headaches

June 1, 2017

Written by Donald Darling, PT, DPT, MS, OCS, FAAOMPT

Headaches, whether they are acute or chronic, are a health issue that affects many. The American Headache Society concluded that Headache is a common and major health problem for people in the United States. (

Headaches can be caused by inflammation in the neck area. The joints, ligaments and muscles can become inflamed due to emotional stress, poor head and neck posture, or following an injury to this area. This inflammation can be referred to the head area. Findings have indicated that headaches represent the most frequent symptoms seen in general practice. Headaches can be effectively treated with Physical Therapy intervention.

Manual therapy to the joints and soft tissue in the form of joint manipulation, soft tissue mobilizing, muscle energy techniques cranial sacral myofascial release, exercise and posture education are effective treatment for those who suffer with headaches. Medications and injections may be effective, but the results are usually temporary. Physical therapy intervention can change the mechanical causes of headaches, along with educating the patient in an ongoing independent home program for preventing continued headaches.

In many cases, physical therapy can relieve patient’s headache symptoms with very few side effects. If you would like more information or have any questions, call (612) 872-2700.