The Influence of Physical Theraphy on Cervicogenic Headaches


Physical Therapy: A Potent Tool in Eliminating Cervicogenic Headaches

A cervicogenic headache is a type of pain that you feel in your head, but it originates in your neck. Thus, it’s a form of referred pain.

Approximately 54 percent of all adults will have some kind of neck pain in any given stretch of six months. On top of that, as many as 70 percent of people who experience headaches might be dealing with a problem that affects the cervical spine, which is the part of the spine that’s located in the neck.

New medical research is backing up the theory that weaknesses in either the cervical spine or the muscles of the neck can lead to extra stress and pain.

The Importance of Posture

Fortunately, physical therapy can help. Indeed, it can work wonders for patients who suffer from a reduced range of neck motion as well as headaches.

Your physical therapist might:

  • Teach you a series of exercises to build strength in your neck muscles
  • Help you to recognize when your posture is less than optimal
  • Show you how to align your head and neck and keep your shoulders from rounding

After a while, you’ll notice when you’ve begun to slouch or lean your head too far forward, and you’ll be able to fix your positioning at once. In fact, this process might become a muscle memory, and therefore, your body will make these corrections on its own.

Muscle Matters

In a similar manner, your physical therapist will train you to recognize whenever there’s too much tightness in either your upper trapezius muscles, which are next to your shoulder blades, or your sternocleidomastoid muscles, which are positioned along the sides of your neck.

Those muscles can tense frequently, and when they do, they can cause you to bring your head forward or to round your shoulders. Thus, your physical therapist will teach you to relax those muscles so that they won’t negatively affect your posture.

What’s more, your physical therapist might review a variety of movements that will build the muscles of your core, including:

  • Your abdominals
  • Your obliques
  • Your diaphragm
  • Your lower back muscles

Why should you focus on your core when you’re dealing with neck pain and headaches? The core muscles specifically help to keep the head and the neck in alignment in addition to providing the entire body with stability.

Support Devices Can Make All the Difference

Further, your physical therapy sessions might involve using a special device that will enhance your posture. For example, you could wear a posture-support jacket. This item of apparel will allow you to get accustomed to standing and sitting in ways that promote neck strength.

In fact, some people have been able to boost the endurance levels of their neck flexors by more than 40 percent after spending time wearing such a jacket. With greater neck flexor endurance, your chances of suffering from cervicogenic headaches should go down significantly.


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