By Zach Daniels PT, DPT
Do you suffer from chronic headaches that just won't go away, no matter what you have tried? Have you tried physical therapy? Cervicogenic "chronic" headaches are estimated to occur between 12-14% of the population and are caused by hyper-irritation to the upper cervical joints/musculature and occipital nerve. These headaches are usually classified as a dull and aching pain that generally starts in the neck and changes with different positions. Individuals with desk jobs or those who spend a lot of time with their head in a "non-neutral" position, such as contractors, typically are more susceptible to chronic headaches. History of whiplash from a motor vehicle accident or a fall, as well as people who hold a lot of tension have been shown to have a chronic headache diagnosis. The upper cervical vertebrae and musculature, pictured below, are the most commonly irritated structures that predispose an individual to chronic headaches.
Common signs that you may be experiencing signs of a cervicogenic headache include:
- Pain that starts in the neck/shoulders
- Radiating pain at the base of the skull towards the forehead/temple region
- Stiff feeling of the neck
- Increased symptoms with head/shoulder movements
- Pain when pressing on the back of the the upper neck/head
- Blurred vision in one or both eyes
The good news for you is that physical therapy can assist you with relieving headaches with a natural approach, rather than using medication. Utilizing many forms of manual therapy, postural training, therapeutic exercises and pain relieving modalities, physical therapy can reduce the intensity and frequency of your headaches. Our staff at Professional Rehabilitation Services will utilize techniques dependent on your personalized evaluation that include soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, joint manipulation, active release technique (ART), transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and dry needling, along with cervical strengthening and stretching.
Even if you are not sure if your headaches can be treated by physical therapy because you have tried just about everything, schedule a FREE 15 minute consult with one of our physical therapists to better explain how we can help you. You don't have to suffer from chronic headaches any longer, let us be the ones to help you get your life back!
For further information on this or other related topics you can contact Zachary Daniels, PT, DPT (Market Commons) (843) 213-6338, Richard DeFalco, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CWcHP at Professional Rehabilitation Services (Myrtle Beach) (843) 839-1300, Brian P. Kinmartin PT, DPT, MTC, STC, OCS, CWcHP (Pawleys Island) (843) 235-0200, Richard A. Owens, MPT, OCS, Cert. SMT, CWcHP (Surfside) (843) 831-0163, Jill P. Phelan, PT, DPT, Cert. DN (Conway) (843) 773-3031, Lisa O'Brien, PT, DPT, Cert. DN (Murrells Inlet) (843) 314-3224, Karl Ehlers, PT, DPT, Cert. DN (Little River) (843) 281- 4222, Samantha Crisafulli, PT,DPT (Carolina Forest) (843) 282-0440 or visit our website at www.prsrehabservices.com where you can learn more about the company and even download a referral form for your physician to fill out. You can also call and schedule a free 15-minute consultation.