Headaches are a common condition in which almost half the adult population experience in a given year and up to 90% of the general population report a lifetime history of headaches. 1 Headaches vary in intensity and duration, depending on type of headache and other factors. Types of headaches include: tension headaches, migraine headaches, cluster headaches, trigeminal autonomic headaches, vestibular headaches and other secondary types of headaches. 1,2 Various treatment options are available for headaches, depending on type of headache and the nature of the symptoms. Medications, physical therapy and exercise have been shown to be beneficial for certain headaches.

Migraines and tension type headaches are common types in the general population. Physical therapy and exercise have been shown to be beneficial for people with these types of headaches. Cervical and thoracic manipulations have been shown to reduce headache intensity and frequency, 3 which can be performed by a skilled physical therapist through manual therapy techniques. Also soft tissue techniques, dry needling techniques and therapeutic exercise has been shown to be effective at reducing headaches as well. 4 Migraine type headaches are continuing to be a focus for clinical research as far as the effectiveness of physical therapy, however aerobic exercise and manual physical therapy techniques have been shown to be effective in reducing intensity and duration of migraines. 5,6

A thorough physical therapy evaluation will identify areas of dysfunction and appropriate treatment will be selected according to the examination and assessment performed by your skilled physical therapist. If you have frequent headaches, come in for a free consult at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Center in Provo, Lehi & Orem, Utah to see if you are a candidate for skilled physical therapy intervention.


  1. Available at: http://www.iasp-pain.org/files/Content/ContentFolders/GlobalYearAgainstPain2/
  2. The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition (beta version). Cephalalgia. 2013;33(9):629-808.
  3. Dunning JR, Butts R, Mourad F, et al. Upper cervical and upper thoracic manipulation versus mobilization and exercise in patients with cervicogenic headache: a multi-center randomized clinical trial. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2016;17:64.
  4. Fernández-de- las-peñas C, Courtney CA. Clinical reasoning for manual therapy management of tension type and cervicogenic headache. J Man Manip Ther. 2014;22(1):44-50.
  5. Irby MB, Bond DS, Lipton RB, Nicklas B, Houle TT, Penzien DB. Aerobic Exercise for Reducing Migraine Burden: Mechanisms, Markers, and Models of Change Processes.
  6. Bronfort G, Haas M, Evans R, Leininger B, Triano J. Effectiveness of manual therapies: the UK evidence report. Chiropr Osteopat. 2010;18:3.