Headaches can occur for many reasons. These include migraines, tension and stress, concussion or bump on the head, sinus or flu related, even dental. People should consult their doctor if they experience any new, constant or severe pain in the head region.
One common cause of headache is the neck, in particular the facet joints along the side of the neck that allow rotation or sideways movement. If these become blocked (stiff) or inflamed they can trigger referred pain into the head. In these cases, your PHYSIOTHERAPIST should be consulted, and some gentle mobilisation of the joints may bring relief. Postural corrective exercises may also be recommended.
Cervicogenic headaches will also involve myofascial trigger points. These are small contractile spots in the muscles that have an inflammatory component.
Your MASSAGE therapist can assess and reduce the irritability of trigger points with local treatment and even dry needling. When trigger points are painful it is also helpful to stretch the muscle involved while applying an icepack to the area. This is often counterintuitive to people, who are more accustomed to applying heat to muscles. Heat is great for getting stiff muscles moving, but can aggravate the inflammation of trigger points.
So, the message is: not all headaches are the same and with the correct assessment, treatment and advice you may be able to reduce and even eliminate these debilitating problems