Updated: Feb 12
Headaches are one of the most common health conditions in Australia. Most people have experienced a headache or suffer from recurring headaches. In fact, at any given time, 15% of us are taking pain relief medication for a headache.1
There are 7 types of headaches, with the first 4 being treated more commonly.
1. Headaches associated with viral illness (e.g. respiratory infections, sinusitis, flu)
2. Vascular headaches (e.g. Migraine, cluster headaches)
3. Cervical headaches (e.g. referred from muscles, joints and tissue around the neck)
4. Tension headache or muscle contraction headache
5. Intracranial (e.g. tumor)
6. Exercise-related headache (e.g. footballers’ migraine)
7. Other (drugs, post-spinal procedure).
At Aeon Health Physiotherapy and Rehab we often treat people with neck headaches – known as cervical headaches - that occur from tension in the muscle, joints and tissue around the neck.
Causes of headaches
Neck headaches are often referred pain caused by irritation of nerves in the neck. This may be due to damage to a particular joint in the neck between the first and second vertebrae called the atlantoaxial joint.
It may also be caused by compression of the nerves as they pass through the muscles of the neck.
What does a cervical headache feel like?
People with a neck headache often describe their pain as a steady dull ache, often on one side, but sometimes on both sides of the neck. The pain can come and go, or it can be constant depending on what is contributing to the headache.
Physio assessment of headaches
Treating someone with a headache first starts with a thorough assessment including whether or not it is new or unaccustomed, atypical, if it is connected with other symptoms such as fever, weight loss or tiredness, any neurological symptoms such as drowsiness, weakness or numbness of limbs, whether it has increased over days, if was sudden or slow onset, if it disrupts sleep patterns.
Physiotherapy can help with headaches, and your physiotherapist may use techniques such as musculoskeletal manipulation, trigger point, massage, dry needling, correction of posture and rehab exercise to help manage pain from headaches.
As a Brisbane physiotherapy clinic that can help treat headaches, we will provide you with information on how you can prevent them by changing a few of your everyday habits.
Some of the lifestyle tips to help with headache prevention include:
Posture – keeping your chest lifted, shoulders relaxed, head level and chin tucked in.
Work – Avoid working with your head down for long periods of time. Try to take a break from the same position, to stretch and move around.
Sleeping – Sleeping in a poor position can cause your neck to feel strained. There are certain types of pillows to help with sleeping positions.
Exercise – Your physiotherapist can give you a tailored set of exercises to help with tight or weak muscles.
If you’re experiencing neck or tension headaches, please contact our physiotherapy clinic in Yeronga on 3892 3938.
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Images: Photo by <a href="/photographer/beermug-77396">peter bierman</a> from <a href="https://freeimages.com/">FreeImages</a>. "Woman experiencing neck pain while looking at her laptop."by shixart1985 is licensed under CC BY 2.0