Headache is considered to be pain in the head which can extend from the skull into the side, front or top of the head. 15-20 % of all chronic and recurrent headaches are attributed to problems in the upper three joints in the neck.
Common headache types include cervicogenic headache (neck origin), tension type headache and migraine. Research has shown that Physiotherapists can accurately diagnose a cervicogenic headache with specific assessment procedures. Further, physiotherapy has been shown to be successful in treating cervicogenic headache patients.
A cervicogenic headache is classically a sidelocked headache that starts with neck pain and stiffness, pain is then referred to the back ,side or front of the head. These headaches are commonly accompanied by restricted neck movement and patients often describes other symptoms such as blurred vision, nausea and light sensitivity.
Tension type headaches are commonly related to muscular tension and are sometimes called ‘stress’ headaches. Pain is often bilateral (both sides) at the back of the head and can refer to the front of the head. There may be associated shoulder pain or stiffness in these patients.
Migraine is a severe headache normally on one side of the head associated with nausea, vomiting and auras (visual disturbance eg. Flickering). These patients when having an episode avoid normal daily activities and often need rest to recover. There is a strong genetic link with migraine sufferers and medication can be helpful in managing symptoms.
Common causes of headaches includes; dysfunction in the upper three joints of the neck, poor posture, cervical spine muscle weakness, trauma such as whiplash or serious pathology which may require medical involvement. Other risk factors include; stress, hormonal factors and diet.
The key to successful treatment is identifying the underlying driving mechanism. In cervicogenic headache the mechanism is via the trigeminocervical nucleus (TCN) (a specific part of the brainstem) which acts as a relay zone for input from the neck and the head up to the brain. We know that patients with migraine and tension type headache have a sensitised TCN which predisposes them to headaches.
Identify what is going on for you and what the source of the problem is
Provide you with treatment to get you moving in the right direction immediately
Create a tailored solution to help you get the results that you want personally
At Physica our team ensure you get the latest treatment technqiues to achieve the best outcomes.
Our team are some of the highest qualified Physiotherapist in Australia
Your Physica Headache practitioner will take a detailed history to establish the severity, intensity and frequency of your headaches to determine the possible contributing factors. A thorough examination will be performed to identify the specific musculoskeletal impairments (restricted movement, muscle weakness, postural contributions) causing your headache and a management plan will be devised and implemented. Best results consist of a combination of manual therapy and specific exercises for cervicogenic headaches. We will work closely with your G.P and, if required, neurologist to return you to good health.