Cervicogenic Headaches

Are you experiencing headaches? A large proportion of headaches are migraines and tension-type headaches; however, a common type of headache physiotherapists can assess and treat are cervicogenic headaches. Neck pain and headaches are frequently associated with headaches (Ashina et al., 2015), indicating the structures around the neck and shoulder may contribute to the headaches.  

Cervicogenic headaches are characterised by 

  • Pain and headache starting in neck and behind head and travels to the front
  • Usually only on one side 
  • Headache does not move from left to right 
  • Headaches are associated with posture, sustained positions such as sitting at a computer for too long, or turning neck in a particular position 
  • Neck pain 
  • Tight neck movement 

The development of cervicogenic headaches may involve your joints and muscles, which have pain generators that can create a headache. Your daily habits, posture, trauma to the head, or stress are ways you can develop a cervicogenic headache. Physiotherapists can trial different treatments to help relieve your headache, which may include:

  • Exercise: An important factor in long-term effects to help with strength and endurance of postural muscles and optimally using your muscles. High quality evidence has supported the use of exercise to help with long-term effects of headaches    
  • Dry Needling: A technique in which acupuncture needles are strategically placed to relieve tight muscles and improve range. This technique is short term and should be reinforced with stretching and exercise
  • Deep tissue massage: A technique that uses firm pressure to help relieve pain generators that travels up to create a headache. 
  • Joint Mobilisation: A technique that focuses on loosening up the neck joints to improve movement. This technique should be reinforced with active treatments such as self-mobilisation, massage, stretching and exercise
  • Taping: A short-term technique to help with postural awareness  

If you are experiencing headaches, you can visit Capital Physiotherapy to further assess and treat your condition. At Capital Physiotherapy, there are a wide range of treatments that can be done to help relieve and allow your take control of your condition. We are conveniently located at South Yarra, Footscray, and Balwyn. You may drop an email at [email protected]