Headache Rehabilitation

Headache Rehabilitation

Treating Cervicogenic Headaches with Physical Therapy

According the World Health Organization, headaches are among the 10 most disabling conditions for men and women. They can be a minor nuisance or a serious issue causing sufferers to lose sleep and/or miss school or work. Headaches can wreak havoc on a person's lifestyle.  Cervicogenic headaches have proven to be treatable with physical therapy. Our headache specialists can help patients with this type of headache eliminate their pain and use of medication.  Cervicogenic headaches comprise up to 20 percent of all headaches treated in pain management clinics and are triggered by dysfunction of the upper cervical (neck) disc segments, stiff upper cervical joints, injury to ligaments and/or muscles in the neck.

Typical cervicogenic headache symptoms include:

  • One sided headache that may originate in the back of the neck or head and may project to the forehead, eyes, temples, ears or face
  • Pain that increases certain postures or neck movement
  • There may be a loss of motion when moving the head
  • Increased tenderness of neck muscles
  • Pain has a significant impact on daily activity, quality of life and may be debilitating

A Centra headache specialist will perform the following activities to determine if a patient's headache can be treated with physical therapy:

  • Medical history review
  • Measurement of range of motion in the neck
  • Postural assessment
  • Joint mobility evaluation
  • Palpation of the cervical spine and muscles to assess for pain
  • Discussion of headache triggers

Treatment may consist of the following techniques:

  • Specific manual therapy techniques, such as joint mobilization and soft tissue mobilization
  • Postural and body mechanics education
  • Cervical (neck) stabilization exercises
  • Cervical movement and spatial orientation exercises
  • Shoulder exercises
  • Pain relieving modalities

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