Headaches


What is it?

Headaches are any form of pain on or around your head including the base of your head, the top, the sides including your ears, the forehead or around your eyes, or radiating up from your neck. Headaches are very common but they can vary in severity, nature and time.

What does it feel like?

Everybody describes their headache in a different way from achy, heavy, thumping, pulsing, gnawing or even like-a-knife. Due to the many factors that can cause headaches the symptoms can change from day to day and person to person. Many headaches are short-lived and can be cured with some light exercise, change in environment or rehydration however others are long-lasting and can easily turn into migraines which may require medication. If you are experiencing daily headaches or find yourself relying on regular medication to control your frequent headaches then advice from your doctor or physiotherapist is highly recommended.

What causes headaches?

There are a very large range of factors that can contribute to a headache but three main causes are an over-stressed lifestyle, poor posture and whiplash*. An over-stressed lifestyle can increase blood pressure causing a thumping feeling in the head. Poor postures, especially those sustained for long periods eg computer-based work or repetitive manual labour, can cause tightening of the neck muscles and joints which compress the nerves travelling up into your head and cause pain. Similarly whiplash can also cause tightening of the neck, shoulder and back muscles and joints.

How are headaches diagnosed?

Your Physiotherapist or Doctor can help to diagnose the type and cause of your headaches from your symptoms and from hearing about nature of progression of your headaches. Headaches can normally be diagnosed without tests or investigations. Further investigations such as x-rays are only needed if it is thought that your neck bones are a contributing factor.

How can Back in Action Physiotherapy help?

At Back in Action we will talk to you and listen to how your pain is affecting your everyday activities. We can help regain movement in your neck with mobilisations, massage, acupuncture and stretching. We can advise and educate you about your headaches and set goals with you to achieve in and out of our sessions. Before you come to see us at Back in Action try to keep your neck moving as normally as possible to improve its functionality and speed up your recovery. Also keeping a small log detailing your headaches including frequency, intensity, nature and the activity you were doing