A Cervicogenic headache is one of several types of headaches. It is a headache that may be related to problems in the upper neck joints or muscles of the spine. The nerves from this area in the spine have a direct link with the part of the brain that is associated with headaches and physiotherapists call this “referred pain”. Some headaches are caused by eye strain, dehydration, and stress, but these present very differently to cervicogenic headaches. If you feel a headache coming on, you may be able to isolate the cause.
What are the signs and symptoms?
- Headache symptoms relating to neck movement
- Pain on pressure over the upper neck and/or the base of the skull
- Restricted neck range of movement with a worsening headache
- A one- sided neck / shoulder / arm pain
There are several ways to prevent a cervicogenic headache. Try and avoid long periods of sitting or not moving, avoid getting overtired, keep well hydrated and exercise regularly to stimulate the circulation of blood to the head and to maintain neuro-musculoskeletal flexibility.
How can physiotherapy help?
Cervicogenic headaches may respond to physiotherapy treatment often with very effective results.
The aim of physiotherapy is to identify the source of the pain therefore enabling effective treatment. Following a detailed assessment our Physiotherapists would be able to determine whether any structures in your neck are referring pain into your head and/or face. If this is the case, the physiotherapist would be able to perform manual therapy treatment – this would be in the form of passive mobilisation to the joints combined with soft tissue. They would also identify and address any other influencing factors such as posture correction and an ergonomic assessment would also be discussed. They would give you a personalised exercise programme to follow which includes stretches to the neck muscles. These are important to do regularly throughout the day.
At Home Physio Group, our Physiotherapists can create a custom program for you if you suffer from cervicogenic headaches. For more information please contact us on 0330 335 1016 or alternatively please fill out our contact sheet and we will get back to you.