Recently, I’ve had many patients at WIN Health Solutions with complaints of neck pain, headaches and a whoozy, lightheaded, dizzy feeling. As a result, I thought it would be worth sharing how physiotherapy can help with these symptoms.
The first thing we would determine is whether these symptoms are a result of an issue with the vestibular system or the upper neck. These two areas can give a patient very similar symptoms, including headaches in all different areas of head and neck.
Once we conclude the source of the symptoms from the findings on the patient’s initial assessment, we can focus the treatment on retraining the cervical spine (the neck) and/or the vestibular system to reduce the headaches.
There have been multiple randomized control trails that conclude that manual therapy including mobilization of the cervical spine may be beneficial for those who suffer from cervical headaches.
Here are the top 3 signs that your headaches are cervical AND that can be helped by our WIN Physiotherapy Team:
1) Unilateral headache always on the same side (ex: always on the left side)
2) Headaches that are aggravated by certain neck posture (ex: reading or
looking up on top shelf)
3) Restricted movement in the neck (ex: rotation is the most common movement that is restricted and may be painful)
An excellent randomized controlled trial in the journal Spine, discussing the effectiveness of physiotherapy on patients with cervicogenic headaches showed that six weeks of muscular retraining and/or spinal mobilizations/manipulations can dramatically reduce symptoms of cervicogenic headaches. The best part is, that the effects in this study were maintained for three, six and twelve months later as well. This is just one study that supports the benefits of BOTH joint mobilizations and muscular retraining in patients presenting with cervicogenic headaches.
Do not feel you need to suffer from headache pain. With manual therapy, muscular retraining, a home exercise program and multiple modalities that can help reduce pain, tension or a heightened nervous system, we are able to cover all the bases that allows you to focus on living life!
If you’re experiencing neck pain and/or headaches, the WIN Physio Team is looking forward to helping you!!