There are two types of headaches – Primary and Secondary.
Primary headcahes include those of vascular origin, such as cluster and migraine headaches. As well as headaches of muscular origin, such as tension-type headaches.
Secondary headaches occur from another source including inflammation and head and neck injuries.
Cervicogenic headaches can benefit from physical therapy because the head pain is usually coming from the neck or cervical spine. Patients who have sustained whiplash or concussion injuries with resulting neck pain can sometimes develop CGH [cervicogenic headache]. In fact, a headache that develops 3 month after the initial concussion are generally not caused by head or brain trauma, suggesting a cervical spine etiology.
Cervicogenic headache is the most common cause of headache among weight-lifters. Headaches can also be referred pain of myofascial or discogenic origin very common among those with postural issues, especially those who are in flexed position on their desk most of the time, working on their computers.
Diagnostic criteria for CGH include headache associated with neck pain and stiffness. Cervicogenic headaches can be unilateral starting form one side of the posterior head and neck, and sometimes associated with arm discomfort on the same side.
Physical Therapy Treatment:
Physical therapy procedures include normalizing the soft tissue and mechanical dysfucntion causing the headache. Thorough evaluation of the head and neck and overall posture can shed some light as to what is causing the headache. Various physical therapy techniques like myofascial tension release, cervical spine mobilization and/or manipulation, suboccipital release technique, postural modification program, among others. Overall treatment is based on the evaluation and diagnosis.
Part of this article is condensed from The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, vol 6 number 3, 2011.