A cervicogenic headache is one which originates from structures from within the neck. During certain neck movements and sustained postures, stretching and compressive forces are placed on the joints, muscles, ligaments and nerves of the neck. Over time damage may occur to these structures. As the nerves that supply the neck also supply the areas of the head, forehead, jaw line, back of the eyes and ears, pain may be referred from these nerves at the neck to the head, therefore, causing a headache. This condition is known as cervicogenic headache.
What are the symptoms of a cerviogenic headache?
Headaches typically present as a constant dull ache located on one side of the head, behind the eyes or along the jawline. Pain and stiffness through your neck may also develop. An increase in symptoms is common during certain movements of the neck or sustained positions, for example driving or sitting at a computer in poor posture.
How can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapy will target the causative injury at the neck with the aim to reduce the headache symptoms. Treatment may involve joint mobilisation (stretching), soft tissue massage or postural taping. Acupuncture has also proven to be effective in reducing headache symptoms.
Postural advice and a flexibility/postural/strengthening exercise programme can also be prescribed to suit your needs.