Approximately 80-90% of people across Canada endure occasional or frequent headaches – so you are not alone. In fact, headaches are the third most commonly reported source of pain across the world.
Most of the time, the common response to a headache is to take some form of pain-relieving medication. This may help to relieve pain in the short term, but if you are constantly suffering from headaches or migraines, pain relief drugs will not provide you with the same long-term effects that physiotherapy can. While physiotherapy may not be someone’s first thought when they have a headache, having a physiotherapist assess your neck and shoulders can really help.
A great majority of headaches are classified as cervicogenic headaches, meaning that they are related to the neck in some form.
Poor posture, stress, and other factors can contribute to weakness, overuse, or irritation to the neck muscles and joints. This pain can radiate from the back of the neck or head into the scalp, side of the head, and even the forehead or behind the eyes, depending on the area of the neck involved.
Many people may not know this, but there are actually different types of headaches that all develop from different causes. The three main types of headaches include:
The most common form of headaches are known as tension headaches. These can occur due to repetitive motions or poor posture in the neck/head. Tension headaches can be caused by strain on the “dura mater,” which is a sensitive membrane that envelops the brain. The dura mater lies in close proximity to small muscles at the base of the skull that go into spasm when the dura mater becomes strained, thus sending pain signals to the brain and causing your headache.
Cervicogenic or neck-related headaches
Musculoskeletal headaches occur when there are significant amounts of tension in the neck. This is typically a result of muscle imbalance or weakness, although emotional tension (such as stress) can also be a contributing factor. A traumatic injury to the neck, such as whiplash, is also a common cause of musculoskeletal headaches.
These headaches can develop as a result of certain conditions, such as a concussion or arthritis, but work-related strain can also trigger a cervicogenic headache. Professions that require sustained positions of the head or neck are the most prone to developing cervicogenic headaches. This may include hairdressers, long-haul drivers, chefs, nail artists, jewelers, etc.
Approximately 35% of people who experience migraines will experience vertigo or dizziness as a migraine symptom. Migraine-associated vertigo (MAV) or “vestibular migraines” are often associated with the typical migraine symptoms of aura, headache, sound, and light sensitivity. The migraine episode can last minutes to hours and can result in residual dizziness and imbalance after the migraine has passed.
If you are suffering from headaches, contact our physiotherapy office today. At Amped Physiotherapy, we are dedicated to providing you with the best treatments for your headaches.
At your initial appointment, one of our highly trained physiotherapists will conduct a physical evaluation and ask you questions about your health history and symptoms, in order to determine what type of headache you are experiencing and where the pain is stemming from.
A treatment plan will then be designed specifically for you and your recovery.