Most of us will experience a headache at some point in our life. For some, it is a rare event that lasts only momentarily. For others, it can be a regular occurrence that can affect day-to-day function and quality of life. They can range from being just nagging and frustrating, to totally debilitating. In some cases, there are clear-cut causes, like too many late nights, not enough water, or perhaps a little too much red wine. However, many cases aren’t so clear-cut, and can be an absolute pain in the neck (literally)! Headaches can reduce your ability to concentrate, work and do the things you love to do.
There are many different types of headaches and Physiotherapists play an important role in the treatment and management of all types. Musculoskeletal-related risk factors of developing headaches include:
- Poor posture
- Neck and upper back stiffness
- Muscle imbalances
- Muscle weaknesses
- Muscle tightness
- Previous neck trauma
- Inappropriate work set up
- Poor sleeping posture
- Sedentary lifestyles
Cervicogenic headaches (headaches originating in the neck) are a common presentation with symptoms including pain in the front of the head, behind the eyes or the side of the head. Pain can also extend to between the shoulder blades or upper shoulders and can be triggered by direct pressure to the base of the skull or upper trapezius area. Pain can refer down into the arms and as far as the fingers, and can present with a stiff and sore neck, blurred vision and nausea, vomiting and/or dizziness.
Physiotherapy can assess and treat abnormalities found in the joints, muscles and neural structures. Physiotherapy for headaches includes:
- Postural correction with recommendations for specific exercises, postural awareness techniques, taping and/or postural braces
- Stretching of the neck and shoulder muscles to alleviate tension
- Stress and tension management via identification of triggers
- Soft tissue work using various techniques to help release specific muscles contributing to a headache
- Dry needling to help relieve tension
- Workplace/ergonomic assessment to determine if changes to chairs, desk height, and/or computer positioning could be contributing to poor postural habits and neck strain
- Decrease neural (nerve) tension with home exercises
Headaches should not be accepted as part of normal everyday life.
You can speak to one of our friendly physiotherapists to see how we can help alleviate headaches for good!
Call our team on 4724 0768 for a FREE 10min phone consultation! (*conditions apply).