Cervical spine and headaches

Cervical spine pain. 

Neck pain can appear seemly out of the blue – you went to bed fine but wake up and can’t move your neck because of searing pain.  This can be extremely distressing, but very amenable to physiotherapy.  Neck pain can also be more longstanding and chronically impact your day to day life.  It can be present with headaches, arm pain, face pain, visual disturbances and dizziness.  Many things these days contribute to neck pain and much of the time it can be posture related, but not always.

Our daily life often involves sitting and using a tablet/laptop/mouse/computer/smartphone.  More often than not using these devices see us stooping our upper back and neck to peer at  the screens.  This performed frequently over days/months/years will eventually result in some form of pain/dysfunction. 

At Active Steps Physiotherapy we aim to alleviate the pain as quickly as possible and then restore normal range of movement and function, using manual therapy techniques.  We will also help you identify the possible triggers and contributing factors to your episode of pain in an attempt to prevent any further recurrences.  This may be as simple as learning to sit properly in your chair at work, realising that a specific exercise you are performing at the gym is incorrect or the way you sit to watch TV at night needs to be slightly changed! 

Neck Pain and Cervicogenic headaches

There are many different categories of headaches and migraine with many causes and treatments.  There are a category of headaches that are caused by cervical spine dysfunction, and are referred to as cervicogenic headaches.  This dysfunction normally occurs in the upper part of the cervical spine and can arise from many things including poor posture, increased tension in the cervical spine musculature, stiffness in the cervical joints, emotional stress or a combination of these things. 

People with these types of headaches are usually aware of pain/discomfort/aching in the cervical spine, +/- experience loss of movement in their neck, +/- experience referred pain extending into either the arm/face/jaw/ear.  They may also experience dizziness or visual disturbances.   

At Active Steps Physiotherapy we perform a detailed assessment to identify the cause of your headaches ensuring treatment can target the source of the symptoms so that your recovery and relief from these symptoms occurs as quickly as possible.  The treatment you receive will depend on if the source of your headaches i.e. cervical joint, cervical disc, cervical musculature, postural or a combination of these. 

These are examples of headaches caused by specific muscles in the cervical spine.