Headaches are a common source of pain and a frequent reason for consultation with physiotherapists and health professionals.
There are non-mechanical causes of headache such as vascular causes, true migraine, cluster headaches etc but there are also a number of headaches that arise from the upper neck (around 40% of all headache causes).
Some signs that increase the chance that your headache is mechanical are:
- Neck pain associated with the onset of the headaches
- Pain referred into the shoulder blade or arm
- Transient dizziness that seems to coincide with the neck pain
- Loss of neck movement, in particular stiffness with turning
How can I relieve and prevent headaches?
Many headaches do prove to be mechanical, and often simple mechanical solutions such as exercises specific to the upper neck and posture correction will frequently sort out your problem.
Most commonly these headaches respond to one of the following two exercises, however these must be done in combination with posture correction and correct work place set-up or the results will be short-lived:
- Retraction with overpressure
- Neck flexion with overpressure
- If you use a laptop for long periods of time it is essential to get a laptop stand and detachable keyboard, correct neck posture is not possible with long periods at a laptop without this
- Get a document holder/stand if you are regularly reading materials not on the computer screen
- Sit with appropriate lumbar support like a McKenzie lumbar roll
- Consider the use of a stand-stand desk if this is available to you to vary your working position regularly
- Get up and move every 45 mins to interrupt static postures (even for 2-3 mins)
- Keep active, as research clearly shows that regular activity to maintain fitness has a protective effect on the spine
A consultation with a McKenzie trained practitioner can quickly reveal if your headaches are indeed mechanical, and can usually provide a rapid and effective mechanical solution. They also specialise in addressing back pain, neck pain and sciatica, so if pain is getting you down, come in to Absolute.