About Headaches

Headaches can occur for a number of different reasons.  Physiotherapists  can treat cervicogenic headaches which are headaches that originate from the neck.

Cervicogenic headaches typically occur due to damage or stiffness of one or more joints, muscles, ligaments or nerves of the top 3 vertebra of the neck. The nerves that supply the upper neck also supply the skin overlying the head, forehead, jaw line, back of the eyes and ears. As a result, pain arising from the upper neck may refer pain to any of these regions. Patients with this condition often experience neck pain, stiffness and difficulty moving their neck associated with the headache. Pain, pins and needles or numbness may also be felt in the upper back, shoulders, arms or hands, although this is less common.  Occasionally patients may experience other symptoms, including light-headedness, dizziness, nausea and decreased concentration.

If your physiotherapist does not believe your headache is a cervicogenic headache, they may suggest you visit your doctor for a second opinion.

Causes of Cervicogenic Headaches

– Repetitive or prolonged activities such as slouching, looking down, reading
– Working at a computer or similar desk jobs
– Poor Posture
– Stress and Tension
– Whiplash

Treatment

Physiotherapy treatment for patients with this condition includes manual therapy such as joint mobilisation and massage, postural correction and exercises.  Clinical Pilates may be of additional benefit to help strengthen postural muscles, stretch and relax tension.