Home > Alternative Treatments > Hydrotherapy and Physiotherapy

Hydrotherapy and Physiotherapy

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 26 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Physiotherapy Hydrotherapy

Some people who suffer from headaches look to alternative pathways to either replace or complement medications and other treatments.

Physiotherapy is one such alternative that may help headache pain. Physiotherapy uses various treatments to improve a person's physical abilities functioning and performance. It aims to improve quality of life by maintaining physical mobility and comfort as well as addressing pain, physical disabilities and impairments. Overall, physiotherapy also promotes fitness and general well being. The treatment goal is to break down any barriers that are preventing you from feeling well and having a full range of movement.

What Headache Types Benefit from Physiotherapy?

The main headache that seems to respond to physiotherapy is called a cervicogenic headache. This results from damage or pressure primarily on the neck as well as other parts of the spine. The damage may be caused by a car accident, poor posture or certain disease states. Other headaches such as migraines and tension-related ones may still benefit to a lesser degree; relieving muscle tension is often the key in physiotherapy treatment for these headache types.

Your individual symptoms and physical status will affect how long physiotherapy treatment lasts as well as how effective it is for your pain. Some people respond very quickly while others may require ongoing treatment for many years.

Hydrotherapy for Headaches

Hydrotherapy is a type of physiotherapy treatment that involves water for pain relief. One approach is to place your feet in a water bath while simultaneously placing an ice pack or a damp cold cloth to your head. It is ideal to place the cloth on the area of your head where the pain is most intense. You may also wish to try alternating a hot and cold treatment to stimulate circulation and ease muscle tension.

For migraine and tension headaches, try using both hot and cold water. Be sure that the hot water is comfortably hot, not boiling, and fill a large bowl. Soak a cloth in cold icy water and wring it to remove excess moisture. Place the cold towel on the afflicted area of the head; you may also wish to place one on the neck as well. Alternately, you can soak the towel in hot water and place your feet in a bowl of cold water.

For sinus headaches, it is recommended that you place the towels just over the sinus area for relief and you may wish to gently massage the temples to enhance the treatment. It may be helpful to wrap a soft towel or other such wrap around the ice pack, as the direct cold sensation may be too intense. It may also be wise to limit the duration to no more than half an hour, to ensure that skin does not become irritated.

Finding a Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists are university educated and the discipline of physiotherapy is considered a professional one. Physiotherapists will work synergistically with whatever treatment plan you already have in place. When you first visit a physiotherapist, he or she will usually have various forms that you must fill out. These will typically cover your health history and may ask you to describe your headache pain in detail as well as any other related information such as accidents and recent test results. Your physiotherapist may also request medical records and may wish to view x-rays or similar tests that your doctor has already conducted. The physiotherapist will likely examine you and will work with you to develop a treatment plan for your headaches.

Physiotherapy utilizes a wide range of treatments, which may involve physical exercises that you perform at home, hydrotherapy, direct exercises performed by the physiotherapist, acupuncture or electrical stimulation. With a little care in choosing a suitable accredited physiotherapist and perhaps some hydrotherapy conducted at home, you should be well on your way to managing headaches.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • DBL
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    Dizziness and loses of memory is what I have being experiences for the pass 7years and I have never had any serious accident I can…
    24 July 2019
  • Lisa
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    As a teenager, I was in an accident and a plate was put in just above my left eyebrow. This was 1994. Idk what type of plate it was…
    5 July 2019
  • Sam Thorpe
    Re: Headache With Pins and Needles: Is This Serious?
    I've been getting pins and needles in my right arm, but I get it in my right hand as well. I feel like…
    8 June 2019
  • Robo
    Re: Migraines and Menopause
    I am 54 and have been having severe headaches for the last few months.My last. Period was 6 months ago so I’m assuming I have entered the…
    6 June 2019
  • Jad
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    I used to drink heavy about 15 years ago but then stopped for a long break. I started up after a few years and did it sensibly. Was…
    2 June 2019
  • Karen1969
    Re: Migraines and Menopause
    I am 49 and went down with chronic daily migraine 2 years ago. My neurologist said it may be hormonal but this is the first site I have…
    13 May 2019
  • Bertsgirl
    Re: Migraines and Menopause
    Wow, I am so glad I found this page. About 3 years ago whilst at work, I felt a pop in my head followed by a whooshing sensation. The…
    5 April 2019
  • Irene
    Re: Headache With Pins and Needles: Is This Serious?
    I am 45 years old and i get pins and needles in my hands I have had the pin and needles in my hand for…
    13 February 2019
  • Jonno
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    I was in a taxi 2 nights ago, happily talking away when all is sudden he broke sharply which meant I went flying forward and hit…
    22 December 2018
  • Rock cake
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    Got hit on the head with a glass about 8 hours ago did see spots before my eyes and did feel sick and funny have been worried…
    18 November 2018