Winnie Wong explains what a Cervicogenic Headache is, the risk factors, signs and symptoms, and how physiotherapy can help.
Cervicogenic headache is a type of headache which originates from the upper cervical spine. The pain starts from the neck and refers up into the head. It has been reported to account for 20% of headaches and is more common in women than men.
Cervicogenic headaches usually present as a constant dull pain, however the intensity can worsen and may have a huge impact on daily function. A randomised control trial by Rodríguez-Sanz, J at el. (2022) found that four x 20 minutes sessions of manual therapy and home exercise program was more effective than just exercise alone in reducing the symptoms of cervicogenic headache and improving cervical range of motion.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Signs and symptoms include:
- One sided headache
- Pain in the neck, shoulder and/or arm of the same side of the headache
- Provoked by sustained positions
- Reduced cervical range of motion (stiff neck)
- Reduced deep neck flexor strength
Risk factors include:
- More prevalent in women
- Chronic neck pain
- Forward head posture
- Kyphotic posture (hunch back)
HOW A PHYSIOTHERAPIST CAN HELP YOU
Following are some of the ways that a physiotherapist can help:
- Manual therapy – cervical joint mobilization
- Exercises – deep neck flexor strengthening
- Posture retraining – reduced forward head posture
At Innovations Physio & Pilates, we can assist with getting you back to your activities with confidence and comfort.