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What we’ll cover
  1. Physiotherapy and headaches
  2. Common presentation of a cervicogenic headache
  3.  What should I do if I think I have a cervicogenic headache?

How physiotherapy can help your cervicogenic headache

Do you experience regular headache?  Suffer from constant headaches? Our physio Tegan Skipworth discusss cervicogenic headaches and how physiotherapy can treat them.

There are many different causes and sources of headaches, it is estimated that there are actually over 200 different causes. Headaches are broken up into two distinct categories, primary and secondary headache types.

Primary headaches are not the result of an underlying medical condition, the best example of these headaches are migraine and tension type headaches. While these headaches can cause significant pain and disability, they are not life threatening and are not linked to further pathology.

A Secondary headache is the result or symptom of an underlying pathology or condition that can activate pain sensitive nerves in the head. These headaches can be harmless or they can be linked to dangerous pathology, these more harmful signs and symptoms are called ‘red flag’ symptoms.

headache

Physiotherapy and headaches

Physiotherapy can assist in the management of a very common secondary type headache, a cervicogenic headache. This is the result of a mechanical disorder/disruption of the upper cervical spine (upper part of the neck). Any pain producing structure of the neck can be responsible for these headaches. This can include the joint, intervertebral disc, nerve root and/or soft tissue structures.

Common presentation of a cervicogenic headache

  • Loss of range of motion of the neck.
  • Worsening of headache with certain cervical movement and/or with direct pressure applied to certain areas of the neck.
  • One-sided headache symptoms.
  • Symptoms originating at the base of the skull/upper neck.
  • Possible radiation of symptoms into the head above.
  • Usually associated with neck pain.

Many primary type headaches will also cause pain and symptoms in the neck, this can lead to misdiagnosed headaches and poor management approaches. A cervicogenic headache must have evidence of disorder of the upper cervical spine, not just neck related pain to be correctly diagnosed as cervicogenic.

 What should I do if I think I have a cervicogenic headache?

 If you are experiencing the symptoms of a cervicogenic headache, you should see a physiotherapist as soon as possible. Your physio will conduct an assessment of the head and neck to determine whether or not your headache can appropriately be managed by physiotherapy intervention.

Possible interventions could include:

  • Manual therapy
  • Exercise
  • Education
  • A self management plan to undertake independently

If your headache is a true cervicogenic headache, the headache symptoms will reduce as the responsible structures in your neck respond positively to treatment. Your physio may refer you back to your GP if they are not the correct person to assist in management of your symptoms.

If you are experiencing headache please book in to see one of our qualified physiotherapists as soon as possible. You can book online or call our friendly team on 9571 6888.


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Last week our team celebrated another great year. 

Whilst Melbourne’s weather had its own plans, we were still determined to keep with the theme of ‘Italian Summer’. We let our hair down to master the art of mixology 🍸🍹followed by an Italian feast. Friday morning Run Club with the team. Practicing what we preach!

Staying stronger, healthier and happier. This time last week, our team was nervously completing their final preparations for @melbmara . 

Congratulations to our physiotherapists and ME community who ran on the day.

Dilen and Michael completed their first marathons. Abbey and Lizzie smashed out their first half. Last Sunday, our team headed down to see our own Matt Warren win a premiership in the VAFA Premier Men’s Competition. Last week our team dedicated a full day to professional development and team building. At ME Physio we pride ourselves on collaboration to put you at the centre of everything we do. 

Our team covered the latest treatments for back pain, financial well-being and finished off the day with salsa dancing. 

Many thanks to our guests including James Schomburgk from @the2ndvisitphysio , Financial Planners Tony Vikram & Cameron Bishop and the @salsafoundation At ME Physio, our focus is on helping you get stronger so that you can keep doing the things you love.

For Tony and Joan, healthier and stronger is being able to navigate the iconic Coast to Coast Walk in the UK! We recently had the pleasure of hosting Elise Bujor from Women’s & Men’s Health Physiotherapy to discuss women’s health issues across the lifespan. 

Our team pride themselves on staying up to date to ensure you’re able to stay healthier, happier and stronger. Huge milestones over the past few weeks with both Tom and Jude from @delasallefc doing their first bit of running in their rehab. 

Tom is on the return from an ankle dislocation whilst Jude is putting in the hard work following a knee reconstruction. Last week our team enjoyed some friendly rivalry at the footy. 

With finals around the corner, some of our team can now safely make holidays plans for September. We recently had the pleasure of hosting the podiatry team from @sespodiatry. 

Our physiotherapists Michael and Abbey presented on rehabilitation following Achilles surgical repair and ankle surgery. Last weekend some of our team got together to complete the 10 km run @runmelbourne. There was no finish line picture as some were keen to run another 15 km!

Whilst running wasn’t for some - brunch was well received by everyone. Shoulder impingement can be incredibly frustrating and painful. 

Tony has been working closely with our physiotherapists Vernon and Dilen to get on top of his shoulder pain. His treatment plan has included hands-on physiotherapy and individualised exercises in our hydrotherapy and strength programs.

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