Treating the cause of your pain with a personal touch.
Home » Pain Management » Headaches

Headaches in New Jersey

Even the mildest headache can interfere with your day, and living with chronic headaches greatly diminishes your quality of life. At Performance Rehabilitation, located in Totowa and Lafayette Township, we offer treatment for headaches to the residents of New Jersey.

What is a Headache?

A headache refers to pain that occurs in any part of the head. Here at Performance Rehabilitation, we can treat headaches that have these characteristics:

  • Dull ache, a throbbing sensation or a sharp pain.
  • Occurs one or both sides of the head.
  • Starts at one point and then lead to another.
  • A vice-like quality.
  • Isolated to just one location.
  • Lasting for less than an hour or several days.
  • Appears suddenly or gradually.

What Causes Headaches?

Headaches occur when signals interact between the brain, surrounding nerves, and blood vessels. When a person has a headache, head muscles and certain nerves of the blood vessels are activated, and they transmit pain signals to the brain. At this time, it is not completely understood why these signals are activated.

Acute headaches occur suddenly. They usually are experienced as a result of an infection, fever, illness, or cold. Conditions that cause the throat, sinuses, and ears to become inflamed or infected can also cause acute headaches.

What are the Types of Headaches?

Headaches can affect people in many different ways and can cause a variety of symptoms.

  • Tension Headaches

Tension headaches affect most people at some point in their life. Some are just occasional. However, some individuals experience tension headaches every single day. When this happens, they are considered to be chronic. The symptoms usually include muscle tension or pressure on both sides of the head or the back of the neck. The pain is usually constant but is not sharp or throbbing. Tension headaches usually feel like a band that is being squeezed around the head.

  • Cervicogenic Headaches

This is mostly what physical therapists treat. Headaches can be referred from the upper cervical joints when there is dysfunction. Mobilization and neuromuscular re-education with physical therapy can eliminate these headaches.

  • Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are extremely intense and severe types of headache. They normally last around 30 to 45 minutes, and can occur several times in one day. Cluster headaches can happen suddenly and usually affect men more than women. The pain that is experienced is usually piercing and located on just one side of the head, usually near the eye. Teary eyes and sinus congestion are typical with this type of headache. These headaches normally reoccur over a period of time, and always affect the same side of the head.

  • Hormone Headaches

Hormone headaches occur before and during menstruation. The symptoms usually include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and a sharp throbbing pain that affects one side of the head. Migraines are commonly experienced during menstruation.

  • Migraines

Migraines are a type of pain that are in a separate category because of the high intensity of pain and other effects a person will experience. Migraines usually cause a piercing, throbbing pain in the head. Sometimes it will affect just one side, and other times it can affect both sides. It can cause nausea and sensitivity to loud noises and light. Some individuals experience auras before a migraine begins. This can cause them to see lines or spots or experience verbal or motor disturbances. Most individuals do not have auras with migraines. Around 36 million people who live in the United States experience migraines.

Are Headaches Hereditary?

Yes, especially migraine headaches. About 90% of children and teenagers who experience migraines have other members of their family who experience them as well. When both parents experience migraines, there is about a 70% chance that the child will also experience this problem. When only one of the parents experiences migraines, approximately 25% to 50% of children are at risk.

How are Headaches Evaluated and Diagnosed?

You may have first visited your physician to receive treatment for a headache. Once ruling out more serious cause (cancer, bleeding in the brain, etc) you may be referred for physical therapy. At Performance Rehabilitation, our physical therapists will work with you to determine what is causing your headache and if it is treatable with physical therapy. If it is determined that the headache is coming from your cervical spine or TMJ, treatment will begin. If it is determined that the headache is migraine in nature, our therapists will refer you back to your doctor and further work up can uncover what the trigger is for your migraine.

The physical therapists of Performance Rehabilitation, located in Totowa and Lafayette Township in New Jersey, can help you with the elimination of your headache. If you experience frequent or severe headaches, contact us to schedule a personal consultation.