Physiotherapy for headaches often involves a combination of manual therapy techniques to reduce nerve irritation present in the upper-cervical region, and improve neck and upper body range of movement. In addition exercises can be helpful in improving the strength of the neck and surrounding muscles. This can help to reduce the build up of tightness in the area. Our brains are really good at ignoring musculoskeletal pain, especially when it has happened slowly over time or remains the same every day. This is one of the reasons why pain/injuries can occur seemingly out of nowhere.
Headaches are a symptom of different causes and affect many Australians often on a weekly or even daily basis. There are several types of headache; migraine, tension-type, cervicogenic or combined. Whilst it is best to be assessed by a Barefoot Physiotherapist who can provide you with a tailored treatment plan primary headaches such as those migraine and tension type headaches can try the exercises in the following link for some symptom relief. Tension type headaches are commonly combined with mechanical impairments, however other factors may also be at play. Finally, a cervicogenic headache occurs secondary to a neck dysfunction and can greatly benefit from the aforementioned tips/ physio treatment.
Neck Pain and Headache
If the nervous system receives excessive signals from the neck it can become sensitised. Therefore, this can cause referred headaches can occur prior to any feeling of neck pain. Other individuals may notice reduced neck range or pain/ stiffness in the neck. In addition, Cervicogenic headaches can be aggravated with neck movements, postures or worsen by the end of day. Textbook cervicogenic headaches are intermittent and usually side dominant. However, if neck dysfunction is bilateral or it is a mixed migraine or tension-type headache with cervicogenic contribution, this may not be the case. Therefore, to find out the likely cause of your headache and best treatment, it is recommend to see a Barefoot Physiotherapist.
Physiotherapy exercises for headaches
Using specific hands on assessment techniques, Barefoot physiotherapists can assess muscle and joint dysfunction in the neck. They will have a special focus on the upper neck which is most closely related to neck-caused headaches. Where the neck is a significant cause of headaches, treatment of these joints and muscles can help de-load the area and dampen down the sensitised nervous system which provides relief of headache symptoms. Your Barefoot Physio will assess your various postures to ensure you are set up in the best way to reduce the build up of tightness in this area of the body. In addition, your physiotherapist will prescribe you with some exercises.
- Stretches/ releases to the upper body
- Shoulder strengthening and stabilisation exercises
- Thoracic mobility exercises
- Postural re-education as needed
If you would like to chat to someone about your neck pain and headaches please get in touch with us at barefoot. Give us a call (the number is on our website) or book in for an initial consultation at the link here.