Cervicogenic Headaches

Pathophysiology

Headaches can sometimes be caused by a problem with the neck, these are called Cervicogenic headaches. This can be disc related or soft tissue. This type of headache is usually, but not always accompanied by neck pain.

Symptoms

  • Reduced range of movement of the neck or pain with movements
  • Headache significantly improves/goes away at the same time as neck pain
  • One sided or one side dominant headaches
  • Pain with pressing on the upper neck joints and/or surrounding muscles
  • Weakness in the deep neck muscles
  • Non-throbbing pain, usually begins in the neck

Management

  • Activity modification
  • Ice or heat
  • Pain relief
  • Physiotherapy to include range of movement exercises and strengthening exercises and in some cases manual therapy

Exercises to try:

Neck Retraction

Neck Retractions

Start in a neutral position

Try to bring your chin in towards you without moving your head up or down

Think of this as if making a double chin 

Hold for a few seconds then relax and repeat

(This can be done sitting or lying on your pillow)









Neck Rotation

Neck Rotations

Begin in a neutral position

Turn your head to look over one shoulder, keeping the rest of your body still

Return to starting position and repeat 

(This can be sitting or lying down)







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