Are you suffering from headaches?
If you are, it is likely that you also experience neck symptoms (discomfort, stiffness) before and/or during headache episodes. Headaches are one of the most common health conditions in Australia. Migraine & Headache Australia estimates that there are more than 6 million Australians affected by headache and migraine.
While headaches can be caused by lifestyle factors such as stress, sleeping positions, posture, work habits and exercise habits they can also be caused by an underlying neck issue.
How to Treat Headaches Caused by Neck Pain
Did you know that Physiotherapy is a proven treatment for headache sufferers? Physiotherapists can carefully take a detailed history and assess potential triggers for your headaches, helping to narrow down the potential sources, whether it be related to stiff upper neck joints, sustained neck positions during sitting or driving, or pain that starts in the shoulders/neck and travels upwards to the head. Physiotherapists can often provide treatment giving quick and effective results to ease the severity and frequency of headaches and migraines.
Trained Physiotherapists will work with you to determine if the neck is the cause of your headaches and may decide that The Watson Headache Approach is suitable for you.
The Watson Headache Approach
The Watson Headache Approach, developed by Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist Dean Watson, is essentially a method of examining the movements of and managing musculoskeletal misbehaviour of the top three spinal segments of the neck.
A Physiotherapist trained in The Watson Headache Approach can use manual, hands on therapy to identify and manage relevant disorders in the upper cervical spine. Trained and certified Watson Headache Practitioners can use their expert training and experience to treat your headache and underlying neck pain. This approach has the potential to offer immediate relief from your headaches and improve your quality of life. Many people have tried ‘everything else’ including high levels of medication, injections and even surgery before finding relief with this approach.
Are there any other treatments?
- Physiotherapy – In addition to The Watson Headache Approach, Physiotherapy treatment techniques such as manipulation, massage, postural correction and rehabilitation exercises can help manage some common types of headaches. Physiotherapists can also provide useful advice on how to prevent headaches by modifying everyday habits.
- Acupuncture – Acupuncture also offers a natural, pain and drug free treatment option for treating headaches and neck pain. Acupuncture can be used to relax, stimulate, balance, ease pain, decrease swelling and reduce inflammation.
- Remedial Massage – Remedial Massage can target muscle tension which is often associated with headaches. Tight muscles of the neck, jaw, shoulders and upper back all contribute to increased headache intensity. Specific massage techniques can help to provide some much needed relief and relaxation. Remedial Massage Therapists can tailor their treatments to best suit your needs and target trigger points associated or contributing to your headaches.
You don’t have to put up with persistent headaches and just accept it as part of your normal life. Headaches are debilitating and significantly affect your daily life, however there are natural and effective treatments available to you.