(804) 655-6327 mark@onwardrichmond.com

You feel your face starts to tingle and you know what is about to follow. Migraine headaches have sidetracked many days over the past few years. In addition, the medications you take don’t get the job done, leave you feeling sick, and stuck in bed. The shocking truth we see people misdiagnosed in their migraine treatment all the time. Could your migraines actually be a cervicogenic headache, or a headache caused by neck issues?

What is a cervicogenic headache?

A cervicogenic headache means that the cause of your head pain is not actually coming from the head.  Instead, the headache is referred from the muscles, joints, and ligaments of the upper neck.  In other words, the symptoms you feel in your head are not the root source.

Are your headache symptoms being caused by your neck?

Common signs that your headache is referred from the neck include a decreased ability to turn your head fully to one or both sides. Also, the headaches occur after prolonged postures such as sitting at a workstation all day. In addition, the head and neck pain coincided with stiffness. Typically, the headaches will be one sided. The headache will have what doctors call the “rams’ horn” pattern where the headache travels from the top of the neck around to the eye on the same side. Finally, the headache can be accompanied by jaw pain.

What can you do to help?

1)     Get the joints of the upper neck moving.  The cervical SNAG is one of our favorite ways to do this.

2)     Do you feel like your upper traps always need to be massaged?  Here is one of our favorite self-mobilization techniques with a tennis or lacrosse ball. 

3)     Getting the upper back loose is always good. Mobilizing the upper part of your thoracic spine will help to take tension off of your neck muscles. Using a foam roller for thoracic extensions is a great choice to get some motion into this area.  

What else can you do?

Move often.  Although cheesy, we always say there is no bad posture, but your next posture is your best posture.  We often see less severe symptoms the more you move through the day and the more blood flow gets to the tissues of the neck.

See a physical therapist.  A physical therapist who specializes in the treatment of chronic headaches helps you identify the type of headache faster and can guide you to quickly reduce symptoms. If you would like more information or want to schedule an evaluation, email http://onwardrichmond.com/contact-us/ or Click Here to schedule online! Dr. Mark Gallant of Onward Physical Therapy in Richmond, VA specializes in helping individuals suffering from chronic headaches regain their freedom!