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Headaches

So many people suffer from headaches, but did you know that Physiotherapy could help?

 

One of The Pinnacle Physiotherapy Clinic's principal physiotherapists Ben Fairfax has trained in the management of headaches through the Watson Headache Institute (www.watsonheadache.com/) and was a delegate at the inaugural Headache Symposium held in Sydney in 2016. Ben has a thorough understanding of the holistic management of headache, dizziness, jaw and facial pain. 

Cervicogenic Headaches

Physiotherapy has been shown to significantly improve symptoms in people suffering from cervicogenic headaches. This type of headache originates from the muscles, joints and ligaments of the neck. Symptoms can present in many different ways but a typical presentation may involve pain in one side of the head, with a stiff and sore neck during or preceding the headache. There is no procedure or imaging that can be performed to confirm this type of headache. A clinical diagnosis is made via a thorough physical examination.

It is well recognised that the neck can be a direct cause of headaches. It is due to a dense nucleus of nerves (the trigeminocervical nucleus) situated high in the neck that shares sensory information between the head, face and neck. 

    

 

 

 

In addition to direct assessment of the neck, other factors such as posture, work, lifestyle, sleep hygiene and dental /TMJ dysfunction are taken into account when deciding on the best management plan for each individual.

Treatment usually involves carefully sustained joint mobilisations, soft tissue massage and specific home exercises. Headache and sleep behaviour questionnaires/diaries, work/home ergonomics and upper limb mechanics are taken into account where necessary. Discussion with or referral to other health care providers is always a consideration in the holistic approach to management.  

Peter Fairfax©

Useful links

International Headache Society (IHS)

Aims to advance headache science, education and management, and promote headache awareness worldwide.​

http://www.ihs-headache.org/

The IHS is the internationally recognised authority on the classifaction of different headache types.

https://www.ichd-3.org/

Published on behalf of the IHS, Cephalalgia provides an international forum for original research papers, review articles and short communications on topics such as diagnosis and management of primary and secondary headaches and related syndromes.

http://www.ihs-headache.org/cephalalgia

Watson Headache Institute

The institute is dedicated to researching, promoting and educating therapists in the understanding and management of headaches, including migraines.

The site is packed with useful features including complimentary guides for headache and migraine sufferers

www.watsonheadache.com/

Physiopedia page on cervicogenic headache

This website has some useful information on cervicogenic headaches including some typical assessments and treatments used by physiotherapists

https://www.physio-pedia.com/Cervicogenic_Headache