Recurrent headache is one of the most common ailments, and if you experienced it you’ll know how much it can interfere with your everyday life and significantly affect your mood.
But did you know that one of the most common types of headache – known as cervicogenic headache – is actually related to neck pain?
Cause and symptoms of cervicogenic headache
The cause of cervicogenic headache is mainly related to the three uppermost levels of your cervical spine at the back of your neck – hence a feature is the pain that starts from your neck and spreads up to your head. Cervicogenic headache is also associated with stiff and painful neck movements.
The good news is that in many cases we can achieve improvement and relief from headaches as an alternative to taking medication to manage the pain.
With this in mind, let’s look at how physio treatment can help with headaches and neck pain:
1) Identifying the type of headache
It’s important for our physiotherapist to identify the specific type of headache you are experiencing as there are several types, all with different causes. The focus of physiotherapy treatment would be different depending on the type of headache.
2) Exercise and stretching
Poor posture is one of the main contributing factors to cervicogenic headache. Depending on your neck posture, your physio would prescribe appropriate exercises to improve your posture, to better control your neck movements and relieve pain.
3) Manual therapy
Cervicogenic headache is accompanied by muscular tightness and stiff neck movements. Often the symptoms can be relieved almost instantly with manual therapy on specific joints or muscles by a physiotherapist.
4) Pain management strategies
In a lot of cases, mild pain on the neck may recur after recovery from cervicogenic headaches. Therefore, it is important to continue to manage the pain before it builds up and causes the recurrence of the headache. Our physiotherapists can provide pain management appropriate for you.
5) Red flags
A headache can be a sign of an underlying medical conditions. Therefore, the physiotherapist’s first priority is to identify any red flags and make appropriate referrals.
Article written by Kenneth Hartono (physiotherapist – Melbourne North)