What is a Cervical Headache - Active Physio Health

What is a Cervical Headache

A Cervical Headache is typically described as a constant, steady, dull ache often only on one side of the head, but can be both. You may feel like there is a gripping or pulling feeling around the base of your neck.

Cervical Headaches is a term used to describe headaches caused by abnormalities of the joints, muscles, fascia and neural structures of the cervical region. According to the International Headache Society, if you have reduced range of movement at the neck joint, change in muscle tone around the neck, and abnormal tenderness in the musculature then you may suffer from Cervicogenic Headaches.

How the Headache is produced?

There is various reasons for the production of headaches in the cervical region. It can be referred pain from irritation of the upper cervical nerve roots. This may be due to damage of the top 2 vertebrae at the base of your skull or compression of nerves as they pass through muscles.

Most common pain can be referred to the head from active trigger points. Frontal headaches are trigger points on the base of the skull muscles, while temporal are associated with trigger points in muscles on the top of your shoulder joint and behind the ear

What can be done?

Over-the-counter medications taken to treat headache include:

  • Pain killers or analgesics such as aspirin and paracetamol (eg. Panadol)
  • Pain killers or analgesics combined with codeine (eg. Panadeine)

Treating muscle tension can release pressure that may lead to headache.

Physiotherapy treatment options includes:

  • trigger point therapy
  • soft tissue massage
  • cervical joint mobilisation
  • posture correction
  • postural taping
  • acupuncture
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