Injury of the month: Headaches


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.

  1. Mobilisation

  2. Manipulation

  3. Massage

  4. Relaxation therapy

  5. Functional and rehabilitative exercise

  6. Encouraging normal activity

  7. Postural assessment, correction and advice

  8. 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.


If you'd like an appointment with our Spinal Specialist, Shari Randall, please call us on 02030 12 12 22 or send an email to .


Words by Kara Mulvein.



Helpful Hints for the Holidays

Back and neck pain are common problems experienced when travelling or staying away from home - so here are some ideas to help you enjoy a more comfortable summer break.

In the car:

  • Make sure you sit with good posture - if your car doesn’t have enough low back support use a rolled up towel (pick the right size!) or buy a purpose-designed lumbar roll.
  • Don’t allow your chin to poke forwards as you peer out the windscreen - especially at night! This is a very common habit and can result in a stiff and sore neck. The back of your head should be just touching the headrest support and your chin should be tucked towards your Adam’s apple.
  • Take breaks – get out and walk about every hour or so even if just for a few minutes.

On the plane:

  • Don’t fall asleep in an awkward position - try and keep your back in its normal alignment (again a small lumbar roll can help with this) and use a horse shoe shaped neck support to help stop your neck kinking into the wrong position.
  • Remember sustained positioning when your joints are not in neutral alignment can cause damage and pain – so avoid it.
  • If you're on a long flight, get up and walk every two hours. This will also help your circulation.

In bed:

  • Lots of people suffer as a result of sleeping in a strange bed. Whilst there’s not a lot you can do about the bed itself you can alter the pillows (or take your own).
  • The pillow’s purpose is to fill the space between the head and neck and the mattress.  If you sleep on your back your pillow should be fairly flat.  If you’re on your side that pillow should fill the space between your shoulder and head to ensure your neck is held straight and doesn’t drop down toward the mattress (too flat pillows)  or is pushed away (too many pillows) - it should be ‘just right’.

And remember we are open throughout the summer holidays to help ease any aches and pains. Just call us on 02030 12 12 22 or send an email to to make an appointment.

Words by Kara Mulvein.