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HEADACHE? - What’s the best headache management?

Updated: May 8, 2019

I have a headache what is the best management?

Most of us will experience a headache of some kind in our lives. Often it is a mild discomfort that goes away quickly, other times a severe discomfort that lingers for days to week and can become severe.

Headaches can be complex and you should always have a comprehensive assessment by your physiotherapist. Physiotherapists are skilled at diagnosing the cause and alleviating the symptoms of many headache types.

It is important to first gain a thorough history of your headaches. This will include the type of “pain” you are feeling and where exactly your headache is. Other information such as movements, positions or foods that might trigger your headache and how severe or how long the headaches last can provide vital information to diagnosing your headache type.

Next would be an objective assessment, where your physiotherapist will take you through movements and tests to confirm that your headache is coming from your neck, and rule out any other causes.

Once it has been established that your neck is playing a role in your headache symptoms, treatment can commence.

Current research shows good outcomes following a period of manual therapy to your upper cervical spine for neck based headaches and then an exercise program that focuses initially on the deep neck flexors. These muscles are small stabilising muscles in the front of your neck. They provide motor control and strength to your neck. Impaired function of these muscles has been well documented to relate to headache symptoms.

Once the deep neck flexors are providing good stability to your neck, and symptoms are improving, exercise progression into functional strength based exercises for your neck and shoulder blade muscles can occur.

Dizziness can also be an issue with both neck pain and headaches, particularly following whiplash. Again, once other causes have been ruled out, appropriate manual therapy and exercise programming can be very effective in improving both pain dizziness following these injuries. Physiotherapy programs focus on balance, proprioception (awareness of where your head is in space) and eye and neck coordination (visual ocular reflex).

Unfortunately sometimes headaches are not of a cervicogenic (neck) or musculoskletal origin. Physiotherapists will refer back to your GP for further investigation if required.

Our physiotherapist Rhys has a passion for treating headaches. He has undergone extensive training in the area and would love to help anyone suffering from headaches. Call us on 43 843395 for a thorough assessment and begin your treatment to rid those headaches now!

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