Can a physio help with my headaches?
By Chelsea Longbeach Physiotherapist
Struggling with a headache that won’t quit? Many people think that headaches are just an unavoidable and unexplainable part of life, and are content to put up with them, or utilise short term medication to help relieve their symptoms whenever a headache or migraine comes around. What many people don’t know is that the neck is a common source of headache pain.
This can occur due to stiffness or inflammation in the upper joints in the neck, and/or a damage or inflammation of the surrounding muscles. The nerves that carry these pain signals to your brain cross over with the nerves that carry signals from your face – especially from areas of your temple and forehead. The brain can then get confused where these messages are coming from, and means you can experience both headache pain and neck at the same time, or sometimes only headache pain – even though the pain generating area is actually just your neck. This form of headache is known as a “cervicogenic headache”
Physiotherapists are trained to assess, diagnose, and treat cervicogenic headache. Your physio will perform an assessment to determine whether your neck is actually causing your headache or not, and if it is they can then perform hands-on treatment on your neck. This treatment may targeted to release muscle tension, or joint stiffness in your neck, or both, which in turn will help to relieve your headache. You will often need to see the physio multiple times – first to eradicate the headache entirely, and then so your physiotherapist can also assess the underlying causes of these neck issues, and provide advice, exercises, and treatment to help prevent this issue from recurring. Your physiotherapist will guide you on when and how often to return for follow up
So next time you find yourself with a headache, instead of just dealing with it, or reaching for the short term fix (painkillers), consider seeing your physio instead for a long term solution
CLICK the link below to book appointment with one of experienced physiotherapists to treat your headache pain.
Did you know our physio’s can provide a referral for an immediate XRay or MRI. No GP referral required.
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