What are headaches?
Headaches are defined as pain that is associated with the head. Headache may also be associated with neck pain. There are numerous forms of headaches including migraine headaches, tension headaches, cervicogenic headaches (related to the neck / cervical spine), cluster headaches and mixed headaches (combination of the above). Headaches can also arrive from a blow to the head, and other pathology although this is rare. Physiotherapists treat headaches related to the neck (cervicogenic headaches), as well as tension headaches and mixed headaches.
Risk factors for headaches related to the neck and tension:
Chronic stress, poor (broken or reduced) sleep, neck injury, neck pain, neck stiffness and muscle tension, anxiety and low mood. These factors can result in sensitivity of the neck structures (such as joints in the upper neck) and surrounding muscles of the head and neck.
Treatment of headache:
The key is to establish what kind of headache you have and then identify the common triggers for them. If you have a headache that is related to the neck or tension headaches, physiotherapy can help you. At Body Logic Physiotherapy we will identify the factors linked to your headache and together set a plan for you to manage them.
This involves education regarding triggers and may involve management approaches such as hands on therapies, relaxation techniques, exercises to mobilise and strengthen the neck, advice regarding sleep, stress management and a physical activity program. In some cases, this also involves working with other health care providers to manage your care.