Many people suffer from constant and persistent headaches every day trying to alleviate their pain with medications and experiencing varying results.
There is a large number causes of headaches from migraines to eye strain. While medication and an updated eyeglass prescription can make all the difference in these cases, there is a couple other common types of headache that physiotherapists see and have a high degree of success treating.
Research has shown that the joints of your upper neck, the discs of your lower neck, and the muscle tissue that stabilizes the head and spine can cause headaches.
You may be suffering from “Cervicogenic Headaches” or “Tension Type Headaches.” A skilled Physiotherapist can diagnose and treat them very effectively.
So how do you know if your headache is related to your neck?
Here are a few clues;
- Does your headache begin with pain at the base of your skull and progress to include your head as it worsens?
- Do you experience neck pain at the same time or before the onset of your headache?
- Is your headache commonly felt on only one side of your head?
- Does your pain get worse as the day progresses – especially when you are engaged in lots of sitting or computer work?
These questions and a thorough examination by your Physiotherapist can help to establish if physiotherapy treatment is likely to provide relief.
Some clues that your headaches may not be Cervicogenic are;
- The presence of “Aura’s” or visual disturbances prior to your headache.
- Light or sound hyper-sensitivity.
- Pain that involves the entire head or that awakens you from sleeping.
If this sounds like you – your family physician can help to further diagnose your headache.
So how do Physiotherapists treat headaches?
A skilled physiotherapist will begin by establishing the primary source of your pain and tailoring treatment to alleviate symptoms. Some of the techniques that are commonly successful are;
- Manual therapy to restore normal joint mobility.
- Evidence based strengthening exercises to target muscles that stabilise and control the affected joints of the neck.
- Soft tissue treatment techniques and/or dry needling to alleviate trigger points.
- Postural exercises to help you to avoid the positions that produce your problem in the first place.
- Ergonomic advice to ensure that your environment (such as your desk set-up) is not a major contributor to your problem.
If you are regularly experiencing headache pain and this sounds like you we can help. Don’t hesitate to come in for an assessment with one of our skilled therapists so we can help you to alleviate your symptoms and stop these annoying headaches from affecting your life.