- Posted by Ross De Valle
- On October 12, 2017
Headache is a common condition which researchers tell us sees up to 15% of Australians seeking medication to control. Whilst headache comes in many forms, a Cervicogenic Headache is certainly a common presentation.
A cervicogenic headache is a type of headache where the cause of pain is located within the upper neck. Just as sciatica can refer pain from the lower back down into the calf or foot, the upper neck can certainly refer to the forehead, backs of the eyes, side of the head or the base of the skull.
Physiotherapists play a vital role in management of cervicogenic headaches. At the First Choice Health Vermont South Physiotherapy Clinic, our clinicians take a detailed subjective assessment to find indicators that the cervical spine is either implicated in the patient’s headache, or not likely to be a contributing factor. At this stage, if it seems that the neck is not the likely cause, our practitioners will assist with a referral onwards to your GP or an appropriate specialist.
Some of the key factors that would implicate the cervical spine as being involved are pain in the cervical spine with radiation into head, unilateral or one-sided headache and headache associated with neck postures or movements.
Our skilled physios will palpate the upper 3 segments of the cervical spine with the aim of initially reproducing the headache and then easing the patient’s symptoms. Associated with this is a postural and strength assessment, as well as some ergonomic and analgesia advice.
Treatment revolves around a combination of mobilisation of the cervicothoracic spine with particular emphasis on the upper cervical spine, postural advice and upper cervical muscle strengthening exercises. A good explanation of the nature of the problem and the aims of treatment form an important part of our overall management, as does identifying other contributing factors for example stress, dietary and hormonal which may need to be addressed medically.
If you are a headache sufferer or know someone who is, book an appointment with one of our highly trained physiotherapists for an assessment. Pain killers may give you relief from your headaches, but treating the cause may be a far better solution for you.
Contact First Choice Health today for an appointment or for further information.
Ross De Valle is a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist and Partner at First Choice Health