When Should You Be Concerned About A Headache?

May 31, 2021 | Written by Kon, Written by Leki | 0 comments

Neck pain and headaches are one of the major health concerns affecting a large proportion of the population at one time or the other.

Check out this video where Leki explains headaches as well as demonstrates some techniques you can employ to alleviate some pain symptoms.

Anyone who has experienced a headache is familiar with the significant pain and limitation in neck movements which can severely affect one’s everyday functioning. If left untreated, acute or relatively new episodes of headache can become chronic over time and cause irritation of structures related to the neck, resulting in further pain, limited movement and impaired functional activity.

The good news is that headaches can be treated quite effectively with physiotherapy, using a combination of manual therapy, manual handling advice and postural retraining.

Photo credit – emedicine

What Is The Most Common Cause of Headache?

One of the most common types of headache is known as cervicogenic headache.

This simply relates to any headache that originates from structures in the cervical or neck region where structures usually involve the vertebral joints or muscles located around the neck region.

Usually, headaches that originate from the neck are caused by the upper three joints or vertebrae which exhibit significant joint stiffness and any underlying muscle spasm. Here are the common signs of headaches:

  • Neck pain
  • Pain around the eyes
  • Pain along one side of the face or neck
  • Reduced range of neck motion
  • Headaches caused by certain neck positions or movements
  • Sensitivity to light or noise

What Is A Constant Headache A Sign Of?

  • Trauma: Resulting in injury to our neck joints
  • Poor Posture: Leads to excessive muscle strain & irritation of joints
  • Degeneration: Arthritis, ageing or injury can damage structures in the neck, impair healing and irritate nerves, resulting in pain
  • Chronic disease There may be chronic inflammation/immune response

What Are The 4 Types of Headaches?

  1. Tension headaches = neck related
  2. Cluster headaches = head/facial related
  3. Migraines = neurological
  4. Referred pain/occipital neuralgia = referred pain

How Can Physio Help Headaches?

Manual Therapy

Mobilisation of our joints and soft tissue therapy are extremely effective at relieving headaches. Mobilisation involves the using repetitive small oscillatory movements of various intensity around our affected joints, and results in decreased stiffness and improved neck movements.

Soft tissue therapy involves the use of massage and trigger therapy, both of which relax muscle spasm. The overall effect is relaxation of our muscles and improved gliding of our stiff joints, resulting in decreased pressure on our nerves and diminished pain and headaches.

Postural Exercises

These are aimed at improving the strength and endurance of our neck and shoulder muscles. By adopting a posture that keeps these muscles working efficiently in their optimal length, we avoid any excessive loading of the structures in our neck.

Education & Advice

This is aimed at explaining the nature of headaches, structuring one’s environment, building awareness of triggers or actions that can flare up our symptoms and developing self-management strategies that can alleviate the frequency and severity of symptoms.

Photo credit – Integrity Physio

The most important thing to do is to have the pain properly assessed to find out if the headache is coming from the neck.

If this is the problem, treatment aimed at relieving the stiff joints, stretching the stiff muscles, or strengthening the muscles can significantly reduce the problem.

Correcting poor postures and addressing stress can also be vital in fixing this very painful and persistent problem.

Special exercises prescribed by your Physio are often required to alleviate the pain and prevent a recurrence.

If we find your headache is not related to your neck, we will communicate with your local doctor who will provide further medical assistance.

ProPhysio+ are trained and experienced in the treatment of neck related headaches and will work with your doctor to overcome this painful condition.


Leki & Kon