Headaches are classified as the top 10 causes of disability, with the majority of the world suffering from it! However, it also tends to be a very misdiagnosed and undertreated condition. (Brukner & Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine 5th Edition pg 317)
People tend to see doctors for various types of medical treatment, including the use of oral painkillers. However, there are also other treatment options available, including physiotherapy.
Among the many types of headaches (tension, caffeine-induced etc), one of the types of headaches that is commonly and effectively treated by physiotherapy is cervicogenic headache.
Cervicogenic headache does not really start from the head, it starts from the neck. The neck, or the top part of the spine is called the cervical spine, is made up of 7 spinal bones. The top 2 to 3 bones of the cervical spine sit close to important nerve supply from the brain. With stress, dysfunction of the soft tissue or joints between the bones can cause neck pain and headache.
This type of headache can present differently in different people. Drivers and labourers have been found to be more susceptible to such headaches due to the strain put on their necks. However, the number of desk workers suffering from cervicogenic headaches is growing as well, due to poor ergonomic set up and stress.
Symptoms include, but are not limited to:
One-sided headache and/or neck pain
Nausea, vomiting, dizziness
Pain around the eyes
Reduced movement of the neck
Sensitivity to light and noise
You may choose to try a few home remedies such as deep breathing regimes and relaxation techniques, especially if you are in a highly stressful environment. However, if symptoms persist, you may consider seeing a physiotherapist.
Your physiotherapist will conduct a thorough examination to find out the cause of your headache. You will then be treated with a combination of manual techniques, dry needling, soft tissue release, and personalized exercises. In certain cases, the use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation may be recommended to stimulate the nerves near the source of pain.
Having a headache over what to do about your headache? Feel free to contact our physiotherapists for a free 15 minutes tele-consultation today!