How Physiotherapy can Help Headaches

Girl with stars around head showing physio treatment in oakville for dizziness

Headaches can be the result of many things. For many people headaches can be a fairly regular occurrence. For some people if they are not addressed headache symptoms can increase.

Our North Oakville team of physiotherapists, RMT’s, and acupuncturists work closely with many people who experience headaches.

There are different types of headaches and as such treatment options may vary. It is important to have a trained professional assist you with your headache diagnosis. Your physiotherapist can be part of your team in this regards.

Physiotherapy treatment can be quite effective in treating headaches that are caused by the joints and muscles in and around the neck. One category of headache physio is effective in treating is called cervicogenic headache (CGH) or “neck headaches”. Working with a qualified physio in the treatment of cervicogenic headaches can be very helpful in relieving pain and preventing future occurrence.

Diagnosing a Cervicogenic Headache:

Your physiotherapist will likely use information provided in the gold standard outline developed by the Cervicogenic Headache International Study Group (CHISG). The outline recognizes that it may be a cervicogenic headache if:

  • There are signs / symptoms of neck involvement. This means headache is created with neck movement / positioning, by application of pressure to the upper neck, or decreased neck range of motion combined with arm / shoulder pain
  • The headache can be confirmed by nerve block type injections- this is impractical in most settings for diagnosis purposes
  • Pain on one side of the head (this pain does not shift sides, but rather remains on one side)
  • Those of the female sex are more likely to experience this type of headache
  • People who have this headache have limited help from common medications
  • There may be a history of head / neck trauma or injury
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Cervicogenic Headaches and Physiotherapy Treatment:

Your physiotherapist will do a thorough assessment based on the history of your headaches, your symptoms and a physical examination. Once they have ruled out anything where they may want you to be seen by a physician they will work with you on a treatment plan for your headaches.

As with all patients your treatment with a physio is not one size fits all. Based on your individual case they may suggest a combination of hands on treatment, exercises and activity / environment modifications to help treat your headache.

If you think you have been experiencing this type of headache, one of our physiotherapists will be able to provide a thorough assessment to ensure you headache is coming from your neck. They will then work with you to come up with a plan of action to provide you with relief.

Contact us to book in with one of our North Oakville / Burloak Physiotherapists.