Written by Peter Pavlides
If you suffer from headaches and the following descriptions sound familiar, we can help you! Do you have headaches that get worse with or are triggered by certain neck movements? Have neck and upper shoulder muscle tightness that leads to a headache? You may be having ‘Cervicogenic Headaches’.
Cervicogenic headaches arise from the neck and can be due to joint stiffness, muscle tightness or weakness, or poor posture either due to work/desk set up or poor postural awareness. They are typically one sided and pain can be felt at the base of the skull, around the temple area, and behind or around the eye.
Physiotherapy is a very effective way of treating this condition by reducing your symptoms as well as giving you exercises and strategies to keep them away!
Your therapist will assist you with
-Soft tissue massage
-Cervical joint mobilisations
-Neck strengthening exercises
-Postural examination and correction exercises
-Ergonomic advice for home and work
Some self management tips
In the meantime, here are some ways you can help yourself.
Exercises which can be completed as frequently as once every hour.
-With your right hand stretch your head towards your right shoulder hold for 1 minute, to stretch muscles on the side of your neck. Then tilt your head forward slightly and hold for one minute to target muscles at the back of your neck.
Shoulder rolls plus relaxed breathing
-Rolling your shoulders forwards 5 times and backwards 5 times. Note as you roll your shoulders upwards breathe in through your nose, and then out through your mouth as you roll them downwards.
Neck range of motion
-Tilting your chin to your chest and then up to ceiling 10 times, aiming for smooth relaxed movement.
-Rotating your head looking over your left shoulder and then your right shoulder 10 times each way, again aiming for smooth relaxed movement.
Use of a heat pack can give you pain relief. We recommend using a wheat pack for no longer than 20 mins over your neck and shoulder area. You can do this one every hour as you require.