Headache and Physiotherapy

30 DEC

Headache and Physiotherapy

By Dean Phelps on Monday, 30th of December    Tag: Cervicogenic Headache, Headache, Migraine, Neck Pain, What type of headache is it?,

Headache is a common debilitating condition and physiotherapy can help improve pain, function and quality of life

There are many different forms of headache. These include migraines (with and without aura, chronic and episodic) Tension Type Headache (TTH), Cluster Headache, Menstrual Migraine, Cervicogenic Headache, Medication over-use headache, Trigeminal autonomic cephalagia (TAC is a new clasisfcation and very complex) as well as many painful facial and cranial neuropathies (injury or disease to nerves in the head and face). Yes, my head nearly exploded too!

Of these, Physiotherapy best treats and manages Cervicogenic headache (CGH), a headache arising from structures within the neck causing head pain.

A few interesting statistics abotu CGH from the 2013 Headache Symposium.

  • 18% of all headache types are cervicogenic

  • 50% of cervicogenic headache are incorrectly diagnosed as migraine or other headache types

  • 55% have a mixed presentation meaning there is an overlap with cervicogenic and other headache symptoms (TTH, cluster, menstrual).

  • 33% of cervicogenic headache sufferers also meet the criteria for suffering Migraine (eg aura, nausea, sensitivity to light/sound, vomitting)

  • Suffering cervicogenic headache results in a reduced quality of life comparable with migraine sufferers

  • 100% of cervicogenic sufferers misdiagnosed with migraine and unresponsive to migraine treatment, all respond to treatment directed at cervicogenic headache

  • Physiotherapy does not help other types apart from cervicogenic, unless there is a functional decline in movement, fitness or health.

There are a number of specific and sensitive tests a physio can use to diagnose cervicogenic headache. The best evidence for treatment is manual therapy and exercise such as stretches, strength and endurance exercise.

If you suffer or know of someone suffering headache, have a chat and if 'pain starts in the neck and then a headache starts', book an appointmentas the outcome is proved to be very good when diagnosed and treated correctly.


Dean Phelps - Head Physiotherapy

Dean is a registered Gold Coast Physiotherapist with undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Human Movement and Exercise Science. His background has developed his vision for Fighting Fit Physiotherapy to focus on optimal health and peak physical performance for every single patient. Utilising his many qualifications, in depth knowledge of the body and passion for exercise he can provide a holistic approach to your treatment and exercise prescription to get the best outcome.


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