Are you the type of person who is ready to get rid of your HEADACHES once and for all? Are you ready to truly be free of those awful, debilitating nuisances/pains? If you answered yes to either of these questions, please keep reading. Did you know 47% of the global population have headaches, and 20% of these headaches are Cervicogenic (headaches arising from the neck)? There are many structures in the Neck that can refer pain into the head and cause Cervicogenic Headaches. Not all headaches arise from the neck, however, the majority of ALL headaches have a neck component.
The typical symptom of a patient who is suffering from Cervicogenic Headaches will be a headache that stays predominately on one side of the head. The pain usually starts at the base of the skull and radiates to the front of the head. It is very common to feel as if the pain is shooting into the eye. Does this sound familiar? If so, keep reading.
A Manual Therapist, a Physical Therapist who is trained in Manual Mobilization of the Spine, will be able to perform a thorough examination of your head to rule out post-concussive disorder and other more complicated medical conditions, which might cause headaches. Once the Physical Therapist has screened for other causes of the headache, they will continue with the evaluation to look at posture, screen of the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), range of motion, strength, muscle length, motor control and breathing patterns. Interestingly, 44% of patients with Cevicogenic Headaches also have TMJ dysfunction (abnormal movement, pain, clicking, popping catching and/or locking of the jaw joint).
During the evaluation, the Physical Therapist, should be able to change the headache with manual mobilization to the spine and/or associated neck musculature. If the therapist is able to change the pain with palpation and/or mobilization to the neck, then he/she determines the source of the headache is the neck. The treatment and management of Cervicogenic Headaches would be to address any postural deviations that were noted, strengthen the weak musculature and stretch the tight musculature around the head, neck and upper back. Manual therapy would be utilized to perform manual releasing of the tight musculature and mobilizations to the upper cervical and upper thoracic joints.
It is not acceptable to just manage the pain! If you want the headaches to be gone and stay gone for good, then it is IMPERITIVE to answer a harder question…WHY DID THE HEADACHES START IN THE FIRST PLACE? If we can address the root cause of the problem, it is highly unlikely that the pain will return. If we don’t address the underlying cause, the pain will ALWAYS return and ALWAYS have a negative impact on your quality of life.