For many people, headaches start as pain or tension at the top of the neck. As the pain worsens, it may spread to the back of the head, the temples, forehead or behind the eyes. Moving the neck or bending forward for a long time tends to make it worse.
This happens because the nerves in the upper part of your neck are connected to the nerves in your head and face. A disorder of the upper neck or muscles can cause referred pain to your head.
Any of the following points could suggest that your neck may be causing the headache:
Does the pain radiate from the back to the front of your head?
Headache with dizziness or light-headedness
Headache brought on or worsened by neck movement or staying in the same position for a long time
Headache which always feels worse on the same side of your head
Headache eased by pressure to the base of the skull
Headache which persists after your doctor has checked for other causes.
How physiotherapy can help
Physiotherapists are experts in posture and human movement. They will be able to determine if your neck is causing or contributing to your headaches. Physiotherapists may use:
Functional and rehabilitative exercises
Encouraging normal activity
Postural assessment, correction and advice
Massage or Dry Needling
Your physiotherapist can also offer you self-help advice on ways to correct the cause of headaches, such as practical ergonomic tips for work and in the home; adjusting furniture, relaxation, sleeping positions, posture and exercise.
Postural neck ache can usually easily be treated with some gentle mobilisation by an experience physiotherapist at Thornleigh Performance Physiotherapy and a stretching program to prevent recurrence.