The head is divided into the brain and facial parts. The bones of the skull protect the brain, and the neck connects it to the rest of the body. It houses the sense organs: sight, hearing, taste and smell. Mimic muscles give expression to the face. The masseter muscles perform chewing movements. The muscles of the eye, ear, nose, and tongue are also found. Numerous blood vessels carry blood to the head. The lymphatic pathways in the head lead to the lymph nodes in the neck. Additionally, the cutaneous branches of the cervical plexus and the branches of the first three spinal cervical nerves are responsible for sensory and motor innervation.
Headaches have various causes:
- Head/neck injury
- Diseases of the blood vessels
- Increased muscle tension
- Vision/hearing impairment
- Infections, e.g. sinuses infection
- Mental factors (strong emotions, stress)
- Incorrect head positioning, e.g. resulting from the asymmetry of body posture
The cause of tension headaches, migraines and knuckle headaches, with a common name of non-specific headaches, is mostly unknown. They have one or more symptoms. They are triggered by stress, anger, sleep deprivation, and trigger points appear. They can be sudden, radiating, worsening, lasting from a few minutes to several hours. The Bioptron lamp and massage are helpful in the therapy.
Nerve palsy, e.g. facial palsy, manifests itself in a feeling of facial inertia. It can be two- or single-sided and affect all muscle groups or parts. It results in facial droop and a feeling of flaccid, expressionless face. Such conditions are treated with electrostimulation.
Problems with the temporomandibular joint cause discomfort around the ear, temple, jaw and teeth. They give symptoms of pain when yawning or biting and a clicking noise when speaking. This may be due to clenching of teeth and tightening of facial muscles, bruxism (teeth grinding) or injuries.
Regardless of the problem with which the patient reports to the physiotherapist, it is important to provide all the information that may help in the therapy. A manual examination is as important as an imaging examination, should the need for the latter arise. The physiotherapist will adapt the therapies and exercise program to the patient’s problem. Regular exercise is essential to recovery and physical well-being.