Make Your Stress-related Headaches a Thing of the Past!
As headaches interfere with your ability to perform regular tasks, things can start to add up, and you may soon begin to feel that you are completely losing control of your ability to manage even the most basic tasks—which, in turn, can add more stress to your plate, leaving you predisposed to having even longer, more intense stress-related headaches. It’s a vicious cycle, but there’s a way out of it.
Physical therapy can help you overcome stress-related headaches. In fact, as stated by Choose PT, “There is effective treatment for almost every type of headache.” Working with a physical therapist can help you identify tension-reducing exercises and help you find long-term relief from headaches without the need to rely on pain medication.
How can a physical therapist help treat my stress-related headaches?
If you are experiencing chronic headaches as a result of stress, then physical therapy may be able to help you find relief from that pain.
In many cases stress headaches will develop as a result of tension that builds up in the neck and back.
Working with a physical therapist can help you to target areas of tension, thereby helping to alleviate pain and improve your quality of life.
There are several strategies that physical therapists often use to help with stress headaches. These include:
- Manual exercises: Your physical therapist can help you to identify exercises that will help you reduce tension naturally by improving your range of motion and stretching your muscles in a relaxing manner.
- Massage: Identifying areas that have tension build up and targeting them with massage therapy can help to alleviate head pain.
- Hot and cold therapy: Applying hot and cold compresses in an alternating rotation can help to reduce tension and alleviate pain.
At-home techniques for relieving stress-related headaches
If stress is causing headaches to develop in your life, then finding ways to relax to reduce the build-up of that stress may be helpful.
Some of the most common forms of stress reduction therapy include meditation, yoga, tai chi and deep breathing techniques.
Other habits that can also sometimes help to alleviate stress include listening to music, dancing, engaging in exercise, reading a book, or spending time with loved ones—especially pets!
Here are a few lifestyle habits that are shown to reduce stress:
- Get enough sleep. Sleep isn’t something that can be compromised on when it comes to managing stress. Staying up late to get a task done is only going to lead to more stress. Try to get a sufficient amount of sleep daily so that you can handle what’s ahead.
- Eat as healthy as possible. What you put into your body makes a big impact on what your body is able to handle. Try eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains to help prepare your body for the stress you need it to handle.
- Simplify as much as possible. While it sometimes feels that the only way to manage stress is to squeeze as much into a day so that you can tackle your endless to do list, sometimes what you actually need is to simplify your life. Ask yourself what really needs to be done and focus on that.
One of the most effective things that you can do to help reduce the impact that stress has on your life is to work on adjusting the way that you react to stressors.
Changing your attitude and becoming more open to things that would have previously stressed you out can significantly help improve the way your body copes with stressful events. Try making simple shifts in the way that you think about stressful events.
Simply shift from considering something as “impossible” to “tough, but possible.” Look at ways that you can rise to a challenge versus how overwhelming the challenge feels.
So, why am I experiencing stress-related headaches?
Stress is the easy answer to this question, but in reality, the answer is a lot more complicated than that. Stress can manifest in all kinds of ways, and finding ways to deal with stress is not always an option.
Stress can build from a wide range of activities, and some of those activities may be things you really enjoy doing, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t weigh on you, creating an added level of pressure that can manifest in painful headaches.
Stress is a common trigger for tension and migraine headache. Rather than stressing about ways you can avoid stress, it may be more helpful to think about strategies that will help to ease headaches once they develop—as well as stress-reduction techniques that may prevent stress from reaching your head first.
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If you have regular headaches due to stress, including tension or migraine headaches, it may be helpful to contact your physical therapist to learn about the therapeutic options that can help you experience pain relief.