Physical Therapy for Headaches

Henry Ford Health offers more of the services you need to release chronic headache’s grip on your daily life. In some cases, we use specialized physical therapy to prevent and treat stubborn headache pain. We offer uncommon expertise in this area to keep your care moving forward.

How can physical therapy for headaches help me?

Your neck and shoulder muscles support the weight of your head. Stress, poor posture and other factors overwork these muscles increasing the risk of certain types of headaches. Physical therapy relieves headache pain using various techniques to release muscle tension in your neck and shoulders.

Types of headaches and headache symptoms we treat with physical therapy

Physical therapists treat symptoms that may include:

  • Limited motion in your neck
  • Muscle tightness in the neck or upper back
  • Poor posture

Conditions that cause these symptoms include:

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Physical therapy for headaches at Henry Ford: Why choose us?

Henry Ford is home to the only physical therapist in Michigan with certification in treating headaches. Other team members have years of experience caring for patients with headaches and complications like dizziness. You can count on us to perform the appropriate techniques for your diagnosis and tailor them to your needs.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Broad range of therapies: Physical therapists have additional training in sophisticated techniques giving you more healing options. Your care may include treatments that relieve muscle tension with hands-on therapies or nerve stimulation devices. You may also benefit from vestibular (inner ear) therapy to treat dizziness and balance issues.
  • Timely care: Our attention to your changing needs helps you receive timely physical therapy services. At the start of a headache episode, physical therapy may lessen the severity of your symptoms. Physical therapy after a recent headache episode can lower the risk of it coming back.
  • Convenience: Physical therapists are just down the hall from headache specialists at Henry Ford Medical Center - Bloomfield Township. Many patients receive physical therapy and headache services in one visit. Offering early morning and evening hours makes it easier to fit physical therapy into your busy schedule.
  • Coordination: Physical therapy is one of the many treatments you may receive for chronic headache. Headache specialists guide your care so you can focus on getting better. We work closely with physical therapists and other specialists whenever necessary to help you get the most out of treatments.

Physical therapy for headaches: What to expect

Your care starts with a comprehensive physical therapy evaluation. We review information from your headache specialist and perform a physical exam to pinpoint the source of your muscle tension. This information helps us develop a personalized care plan to help you get relief as quickly and safely as possible.

This plan may include:

  • Correcting posture: Therapists identify postures that strain muscles, including sleeping with a flexed neck or sitting in a hunched position. You then learn techniques for adjusting your posture to relieve strain.
  • Manual therapy: Our team includes therapists with additional training in hands-on techniques for releasing tight muscles. Care may include applying gentle pressure or guiding you through precise movements to relieve pain.
  • Neck exercises: We guide you through gentle stretching or strengthening activities to loosen tight muscles. If continuing these exercises at home is necessary, we give you the information you need to do so safely.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): We use a gentle electrical current to stimulate nerves and chemical messengers that help block the brain's pain signals.
  • Vestibular therapy: If headaches are causing dizziness or balance issues, this specialized therapy can help. Care may include eye and head exercises as well as training to help you anticipate and react to movement safely. Read more about vestibular therapy.
  • Workplace ergonomics: Sitting at your desk, using your phone and other workplace activities can contribute to neck strain. We recommend devices to help you maintain a more natural position so neck muscles don’t work harder than they should.
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Contact us to schedule an appointment, call (800) 436-7936.
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