​Tips to Avoid Headaches

If you’ve ever suffered from headache pain, you know just how debilitating it can be. You simply can’t look, feel or perform your best if you have a headache.

Our Physiotherapists are skilled in assessing and treating your headache. We regularly help patients with tension and headaches arising from the neck and in most cases you will get some relief from the first visit.

Cervicogenic or neck headaches can originate from a number of structures in your neck, including your upper neck joints, neck muscles and your nerves. They are sometimes mistaken for migraines because they can give pain in a similar area.

Some of the causes for these headaches include:

  • Poor posture
  • Stiffness of the joints in the neck and upper back
  • Muscle imbalances (muscle tightness + muscle weakness)
  • Previous neck trauma (ex: whiplash, sports injury)

Three signs it might be a neck headache

1. The pain radiates from back to front and is usually one-sided

•many people have a sense that their headache is ‘coming from their neck’. You may feel the pain is coming from the back of the head, or you may be able to reproduce your headache when you put pressure on the base of your skull.

2. Your neck feels restricted or your pain is altered by neck movements/positions

•you may have noticed a mild loss of movement in your neck (like turning your head to one side)

•your headache may be provoked by a certain neck movement (eg. looking over your shoulder) or a sustained position (eg. stomach sleeping)

3. Physiotherapy treatment of your neck alters or improves your headaches almost immediately if your neck is even partly responsible for your headache. It will usually give immediate relief, however even an initial aggravation of the headache can be a positive sign that the headache is neck-related.

Tips to Avoid Headaches:

1. Avoid foods that trigger migraines

2. Avoid common allergens

3. Get plenty of sleep by following a regular sleep schedule

4. Stay hydrated

5. Moderate alcohol intake

6. Minimize chemicals in your food by eating whole, organic plant foods and avoiding processed foods.

7. Get regular exercise

8. Engage in regular stress reduction activities such as meditation

9. Avoid caffeine or just reduce your intake and follow your latte with a big gulp of water.

10. Don’t smoke

11. Eat foods with Omega-3 fatty acids, which have an anti-inflammatory effect.

12. Avoid using chemical-based cleaning products and air fresheners around your house

13. Learn your headache triggers

14. Maintain your neck mobility with regular treatment from your physiotherapist.

Remember our Physiotherapists are trained in relieving headaches caused by joint stiffness, stress and also jaw clenching. Additionally they can teach you how to relieve them yourself with exercises and other modalities.

Treatment for Cervicogenic headaches involves

  • Joint mobilisations
  • Stretching tight muscles
  • Strengthening weak Muscles
  • Posture Correction strategies
  • Massage and trigger point release
  • Modalities - heat and TENS can often be used in conjunction with manual techniques.
  • Dry needling to release trigger points and release endorphins.

However there are many types of headaches with a great variety of causes. Finding out your type of headache will help you find the best possible treatment for it. Call 83462000 or email us at info@hindmarshphysio.com.au for an appointment at either of our location.

You're welcome to download our Patient Resource on Managing Neck Pain here: https://edu.hindmarshphysio.com.au/neckpainguide

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