Headache? Could it be my neck?

It has been a long day at work at your computer, you have been sitting for hours and your head is “pounding” again, but why? Tension and migraines can typically be the culprit, but this time it could be coming from your neck. Cervicogenic Headache, or neck related headache, according to Zito in 2006 makes up 18% of all chronic headaches, and according to Hall in 2007 makes up 20% of all recurrent headaches.

When patients come in to the office for evaluation, I look for 3 items to determine if their headache is coming from the neck.

  • Decreased Active Range of Motion for Neck extension: Looking up
  • Pain with palpation to c1-c4 joints: Upper portion of the neck
  • Weakness in the deep flexor muscles of the neck

These items are only present in a cervicogenic headache. Not a migraine, nor a tension headache.

These type of headaches are very treatable and typically involve, postural training, neck strengthening, joint mobilization to the upper portion of the neck, and ergonomic assessment.

So if you have a headache, and don’t quite know what is the cause. Make an appointment with your physical therapist, preferably Superior PT, and allow us to assess if it is coming from your neck.