Headaches. Why are they such a pain in the neck?

By Tully Hogan-West
Physiotherapist at Life Ready Physio Midland

For some people, headaches are a fact of life. They can occur regularly and often differ in severity – from a light throbbing or tension in the head which is easily ignored, all the way to an intense pain that demands attention.
There are three main types of headaches – migraines, tension headaches and cervicogenic headaches (coming from the neck). Neck headaches are by far the most common presentation and luckily, they are the easiest to treat.

Why do they occur?
These types of headaches can occur due to stressful periods of our lives, long stints at work, poor posture or dehydration. Situations when the muscles on the back of our neck become too tight i.e. – sitting too long in front of the computer with a poor posture and dealing with stress. The tension present in the neck results in a referral of pain into the head, often behind the eye, the base of the skull, or the top of our head.

How can physiotherapy help?

If you suffer from either a regular headache that seems to get worse over the week, or if it even strikes frequently during the month, then as physiotherapists, we can help you to determine the root cause of your pain. Once we have pinpointed the source of your pain, the next step is assisting in implementing the necessary changes in your day or week to reduce the frequency and intensity of your headaches. A range of exercises and postural adaptions can make a huge difference and enable you can take control of your pain and stop it from affecting your life.
In addition to changing your posture and lifestyle/work factors, receiving targeted treatment to the muscles and joints in the top of your neck is hugely beneficial in reducing the headache symptoms.