A headache is a pain in your head or face that’s often described as a pressure that’s throbbing, constant, sharp or dull.
Headaches can differ greatly in regard to pain type, severity, location and frequency. Headaches are a very common condition that most people will experience many times during their lives.



When should I see a healthcare provider for headaches?


  1. Experiencing headache more than once per week
  2. Headaches are getting worse and last longer
  3. Needing to take pain killers almost every day



Who should I seek for? 


There are many types of headaches. Most common types of primary headaches are tension type headache (TTH) and migraine headache.


What Physiotherapist will do?


If an individual is experiencing frequent headaches, a physiotherapist may perform physical and neurological exams to try to determine what is the root causes. Taking a thorough history can be the most important diagnostic tool in determining a TTH. It is important to understand how long an individual has been experiencing these headaches, how long they last, their intensity, and if there are any associated symptoms that accompany the headache.


What Doctor / Physician will do?


A physician / doctor may also choose to order a computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-ray, or electroencephalogram (EEG) to rule out other possible causes of the headaches.

In most cases, undergoing physiotherapy treatment will be the most efficient and effective way to treat headaches.




What treatment to expect from a physiotherapy session?


A physiotherapist will perform trigger point release therapy or massage on the affected neck muscles and other associated muscles that causes the headache. They may also use trigger point dry needling to solve the trigger points found in the neck muscles. Electrotherapy and thermotherapy may be used depending on the condition.

To prevent recurrence of headache, a physiotherapist will provide a few stretching and strengthening exercises for the neck and other associated muscles.





How can I stretch the neck muscles?


There are a few stretching exercises that you may try to alleviate the symptoms of your headache. We will cover 2 stretching exercises for the most common muscles involved.



Upper trapezius stretch

Place the arm of the affected side behind your back. Next, use the other hand to place the head at a laterally flexed position to stretch the upper trapezius muscle.



SCM muscle stretch

Place the arm of the affected side behind your back. Next, use the other hand to place the head at a laterally flexed position. Then look towards the ceiling and continue to stretch the SCM muscle using the same hand.


Hold the above stretches for
  • Hold the above stretches for 30 seconds
  • repeat it for 3 times
  • Breathe normally and stay relaxed while stretching to avoid over-stretching the muscles


Prepared by:

Jonathan Chew Zhong Yuan

Your Physio Kepong

Edited by:

Teh Qi Shun

Your Physio Alam Damai

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