Chronic, debilitating headaches are a common ailment among many people. What you may not know is that the origin of your headache may be somewhere other than your head.
Cervicogenic headache, or CGH, is a headache that originates in the cervical spine. Often times this type of headache is associated with neck pain and stiffness, as well as pain on one side of the head and neck, and occasionally associated with same side arm pain. It is common for individuals suffering from CGH to have poor posture, decreased mobility of their neck, tight musculature and decreased strength of the deep neck muscles.
Management of headaches generally begins with pharmacologic intervention, however individuals effected by CGH typically do not experience relief from medications. In most cases, a conservative treatment approach – physical therapy – is the best option. For best results, a complete musculoskeletal examination should be performed to make an accurate diagnosis. Once diagnosed with CGH, a multi-dimensional treatment approach, including modalities, manual therapy, muscle stretching, soft tissue mobilization and therapeutic exercise is recommended to resolve the individuals impairments; subsequently decreasing the pain and frequency of headaches.
Reference: International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, September 2011.
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