If you suffer from persistent or recurring headaches, it may be that your neck is the culprit (and you may not even have neck pain!). This cause of headache has been commonly over-looked which has often resulted in the patient suffering from many years.
At Fay Pedler Physiotherapy, we are experts in assessing and treating neck related headache. Headaches caused by the structures of the neck often give one-sided pain, usually arriving at the based of the skull and referring to the temple, forehead or eye region. However, pain can be present in the eyes/head region alone.
Pain can be aggravated by neck movement or sustained postures and is often eased (or provoked) by manual pressure to the base of the skull. You might wake up with pain or it might come as the day progresses. It has been well demonstrated that structures in the neck can refer pain to the head. The nerves that start from the top of the neck, C1-3, also provide sensation to the face and head. If these nerves are aggravated by stiff joints and muscles in the neck, they can cause pain in your head. This is called referred pain.
Our Physiotherapists will thoroughly assess your neck and headaches. They will ask specific questions and rule out other causes of headache. They will then feel and assess the structures of your neck, to see if they may be causing headache. If the neck structures are involved, we will find:
- Tight and painful structure in your neck (joint and muscle)
- Pressure on specific structures of your neck will reduce your head pain
- A forward head posture and stiff mid back
- Reduced motion in the upper joints of the neck
- Reduced strength in the deep muscles of the neck
Physiotherapy treatment can help neck related headaches. At Fay Pedler Physiotherapy, we use a combination of gentle mobilisation of the neck joints, massage and/or acupuncture to reduce muscle tension and spasm, with specific exercise to retain the deep muscles or the neck and improve the posture of the head and neck.