Is Your Headache Really a Neck Ache?
Headaches are often caused by disorders of the neck or physical and emotional tension. For many people, headaches start as pain or tension at the top of the neck. As the pain worsens, it may spread to the back of the head, the temples, forehead or behind the eyes. This happens because the nerves in the upper part of your neck are connected to the nerves in your head and face. A disorder of the upper neck or muscles can cause referred pain to your head.
Does this sound like you?
Pain radiates from the back to the front of your head?
Headache with dizziness or light-headedness?
Headache brought on or worsened by neck movement of staying in the same position for a long time?
Headache which always feels worse on the same side of your head?
Headache eased by pressure to the back of your skull?
Headache which persists after your doctor has checked for other causes?
How We Can Help:
Postural neck ache can usually easily be treated with some gentle mobilisations by a physiotherapist and a stretching programme to prevent recurrence.
Physiotherapists can successfully treat headaches originating from the neck or soft tissues and show you how to prevent the pain from occurring. Even if you think your headache doesn’t come from your neck we can often help to reduce the intensity.
Functional and rehabilitative exercise
Encouraging normal activity
Postural assessment, correction and advice
Muscle activation and re-education
Your physiotherapist can also offer you self-help advice on ways to correct the cause of headaches, such as practical ergonomic tips for work and in the home; adjusting furniture, relaxation, sleeping positions, posture and exercise.
Words by Kara Mulvein.