Neck pain is one of the most frequently reported side-effects of headache, with most headache types being accompanied by it to varying degrees. However not all headaches are related to the neck and so careful differentiation of headache type is needed to identify which headache will respond in the long term to physiotherapy and which ones will only experience short term symptom relief.
Current evidence exists which has identified ways to differentiate between headache types. Since it is possible to experience more than one headache, a headache diary is a very handy way to start before you consider a course of physiotherapy. By keeping track of your headache frequency, intensity and duration as well as anything that may brings your headache on such as specific activities, certain foods, or stress, you can aid your therapist in determining whether the headache you are experiencing is coming from your neck.
If, following a comprehensive interview and physical examination of your neck and posture it appears that your headaches are neck related, there is very good evidence to show that physiotherapy can help you. A combination of postural correction, manual therapy and exercise can maximise the likelihood that you will be able to improve if not get rid of your headaches, and once they're gone keep it that way!
In the event that you are not maintaining your exercises independently or finding it hard to get motivated, register your interest in one of our group exercise classes (NB a minimum of 4 people is needed per 10 week term).
While migraine itself does not benefit from physiotherapy in the long term, it is possible that you could be experiencing neck related headaches along with your migraines. These could in turn be increasing the frequency of your headaches. At HeadRight we use specific physical assessment procedures to help identify whether this may be the case for you. Treating any associated headaches from the neck will not cure your migraines, but may help reduce their frequency.