Resolve to Relieve the Headache

Post By: Mandy Blackmon PT, DPT, OCS, CMTPT

Brian blogged a few weeks ago about the “holiday stress factor” and the effects that stress can have on our bodies and pain.  One of the primary pathologies I see in my patients is chronic headache and jaw pain.  Many of my patients describe their headaches as “migraine” and their facial pain as “TMJ,” often without knowing the truth of their pain.  Did you know that tight muscles and trigger pints around the head, neck, and shoulder can actually refer pain patterns that look and feel very much like migraine headaches and temporomandibular dysfunction?  We know from the work of Dr. Janet Travell, Dr. David Simons and others that each muscle in the body has a predictable pain pattern.  The muscles that refer to the head, neck and shoulders include the masseter, pterygoids, upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, and the suboccipitals.  Many of theses muscles develop trigger points from sitting in poor posture, from holding tension and stress, from clenching and grinding the teeth, or from habitual oral habits, like nail biting.  Do any of these patterns look familiar to you?Medial PterygoidTrapezius


Headaches can become debilitating, keeping people from performing at work or school, participating in activities with family and friends, and from enjoying recreational activities.  The medications used to treat these pathologies can come with negative side effects.  Patients are often shocked that a few physical therapy sessions can relieve headache and jaw pain that they have been experiencing for weeks, months, even years.  Treatments typically include trigger point dry needling, soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, posture exercises, and stress and behavior management.  If you or a loved one is experiencing headache or jaw pain, let us help you.  All of the PTs at Motion Stability are trained in the techniques used to alleviate these symptoms.  Start 2015 headache-free!

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