You may or may not be aware that headaches can be caused by several reasons from emotional stress, tension, anxiety to allergies. One area that is often overlooked is the cervical spine (neck) area and the associated muscles nerves and joints. Headaches caused by neck pain are referred to as Cervicogenic headaches.
If you answer yes to any of the following questions it could suggest that your neck may be causing a headache:
- Do you have neck pain?
- Does the pain radiate from the back to the front of your head?
- Do you have dizziness or light-headedness?
- Is your headache aggravated or worsened by movements of the neck or being in a fixed posture for a prolonged time?
- Does your neck feel worse on the same side as your headache?
Is it eased by pressure to the base of the skull, the muscles or heat treatments around the neck muscles?
- Does your headache persist after medications?
- Has there been no diagnosis from further investigations?
So, what can a physiotherapist do for your neck?
- Give advice on posture
- Show you how to stretch and move the neck and shoulders after periods of sitting
- Explain the importance of good sitting positions at your desk
- Discuss sleeping positions and use of pillows
- Perform treatments to help ease the pain.
Neck treatments to influence headaches are quite wide ranging, in the first instance manual hands on techniques may be used to address any stiffness, particularly in the upper spine. Treatments such as acupuncture can be useful to treat the pain as well as needling techniques to reduce muscle spasm and areas of tight muscles, equally this can be achieved with more manual soft tissue and massage techniques.
Traction can also be useful in patients with headaches and a simple set of stretching and mobilising exercises will also help address the symptoms and help you manage the symptoms better.
There are other medical diagnosis that can cause headaches and so sometimes following initial assessment your physiotherapist may want to refer you back to your GP for further investigations, but the majority of neck related headaches can be successfully treated and managed through physiotherapy.
The key to success in treating headaches is the appropriate assessment to determine the source of the problem, our team can do this and the clues to determine whether the headaches are originating from a musculoskeletal source can be gained from you the patient and the signs, symptoms and history of the pain problem you present with.
If you are suffering from migraines or headaches then here at the clinic we offer Physiotherapy assessments at times to suit you, with early morning and evening appointments available.
For further information or to book an appointment call 01952 462330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org visit our contact page.