In today’s population 47% of us experience headaches. There are many classifications and forms of headaches and this is why it is important to have your headache assessed by not only by your GP but also your sports or musculoskeletal physiotherapist. Physiotherapists are experts at assessing and managing headaches of cervicogenic origin (referred pain from the neck) or from the structures of the jaw (temporomandibular joint, TMJ).
Cervicogenic headaches are commonly felt on the top, back and sides of the skull (in the hairline) and generally do not have associated nausea or dizziness symptoms. Headaches referred from the jaw are commonly felt around the eyes, face and aching of the jaw itself.
Treatment of your headaches will involve assessing your history and predisposition to headaches and then diagnosing the most likely musculoskeletal cause of your headache. Treatment may involve soft tissue techniques to the areas of muscular dysfunction (cervical spine, axioscapular muscles, TMJ muscles), restoring cervical and temporomandibular joint range of motion, in addition to prescribing exercises to prevent the headaches from recurring.
1. Jenson & Stovner, 2008
There are numerous causes of migraines including dietary sensitivities, hormonal cycles, medications and sensitisation of the trigeminal nucleus located near the jaw. Whilst physiotherapy may not be able to directly change the causes of migraines, they may be able to assist you in the relief of associated muscular tightness and postural compensation that can occur when a migraine is running its course. If you are unsure whether or not your physiotherapists can assist you please contact one of the Performance Medicine physiotherapists today.