PT on the Net Research

Computer Headaches


Question:

My client sits in front of a computer all day, and by the end of the day, she complains of a headache. I have noticed that she has limited motion in her neck region. Could the headaches be attributed to muscle tension in her neck?

Answer:

Headaches are common dilemmas that affect many people. Headaches come in a variety of forms, depending on their causes and their symptoms. They can range from a dull, minor ache to a debilitating migraine. Common forms and symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following:

Experts estimate that 90% of all headaches are tension headaches and 6% are migraines. Tension headaches, as the name implies, are caused by muscular tension. Migraines result from a disturbance in the blood circulation to the brain.

In your client’s situation, it is very probable that her limited range of motion is a result of muscular tension, and this tension could be a contributing factor (if not a main factor) to her headaches.

Common symptoms associated with tension headaches

Common causes associated with tension headaches are:

Review the above symptoms and causes with your client to investigate the possibility that her headaches are tension induced. If indeed her headaches are tension induced, stretching the tight muscles will:

Having your client stretch during your sessions will not be enough! Have her stretch every hour at work or as much as possible (if she is in pain, she’ll listen). The key is creativity in your program design. For example, you can teach your client to stretch:

Remember, always seek and treat the cause of the headache, not the symptom(s). Referring your client to a trained specialist who deals with headaches is always the best route to take. Never diagnose a client unless you are qualified to do so.