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Are you experiencing Headaches?

Physical therapy is often utilized in the comprehensive treatment for headache sufferers. For certain types of headaches, physical therapy has proven to be successful in decreasing and/or resolving the intensity and frequency of symptoms, improving an individual’s function and mobility, and improving an individual’s quality of life. A common type of headache seen in clinical practice that responds well to physical therapy is a cervicogenic headache.

What is a Cervicogenic Headache

A Cervicogenic headache stems from the structures in the cervical spine (neck) and radiates into other areas, such as the back of the head, over the top of the head, and/or on the side of the head. This type of headache may occur gradually or occur as a result of an injury.

An individual suffering from a cervicogenic headache may report an increase in symptoms with movement of the head or neck and a decreased ability to do so. Symptoms may increase with prolonged positions or postures, such as sitting for extended periods of time on the computer.
Other symptoms associated with cervicogenic headache include:

  • Neck pain
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Tenderness over the joints in the neck
  • Shoulder/arm pain on the same side of the headache
  • Weakness
  • Possible dizziness, nausea, and lightheadedness

Cervicogenic headache and associated symptoms are typically the result of stiff joints in the neck, more specifically the upper portion of the neck, soft tissue tightness and/or trigger points, and possibly nerve irritation.

Physical therapy is commonly prescribed for individuals who suffer from cervicogenic headaches. The physical therapist will do a comprehensive musculoskeletal exam to determine which structures are contributing to the symptoms.
The exam may include assessment of:

  • Range of motion of the head/neck
  • Joint movement
  • Musculature tightness, tenderness, and trigger points posture
  • Strength and endurance of the deep neck muscles
  • Posture

The physical therapist will also include other appropriate tests and measures.

Request an appointment with an Athletico Physical Therapist near you to find out what’s wrong and live life pain free!

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