Recently staff from Sunshine coast Sportscare attended an informative Webinar by headache guru, Dean Watson.

October 16, 2012

The basic premise of the Lecture was that while there is a number of different headache types, including tension headaches, cluster headaches, menstrual headaches and migraines, the intensity and severity of these headaches can effectively be modulated by the upper cervical spine.

These upper 3 joints of the neck can stimulate or moderate headaches via brain stem sensitisation.  This recent research shows what clinically we have seen that for many years many headaches can be effectively treated by physiotherapy with techniques such as joint mobilization, soft tissue release, acupuncture and deep needling aimed at these top 3 joints of the neck.  Postural rehabilitation and lifestyle advice is obviously an important part of the long term management of chronic headaches.

Furthermore, research indicates that there may not be as much difference in these types of headaches as previously thought.  Those people that experience a tension type of headache – will occasionally suffer a severe migraine but both of these are related to sensitisation of the brain stem.  The belief that migraines are due to dilation of blood vessels inside the head has been shown to be not always accurate and that this dilation maybe due to the sensitisation of the brain stem.

Basically, maybe the diagnosis of the headache is not that important but it is more important to find out the reason for the sensitisation of the brain stem.

So can all headache sufferers benefit from physiotherapy?

Indications are that a lot of patients will get relief from headaches with physiotherapy treatment.  The one stipulation is that we reproduce headache pain and symptoms and thus must be able to be eased with sustaining the technique.  The key of treatment is not to treat the headache with medication but treat the reason for the sensitisation.  And neck problems appear to be the most common of 4 possible causes of headaches.

So if you are a headache sufferer and are inter3ested in finding out whether you can get relief from physiotherapy make an appointment with the physio’s at Sportscare.  Most times in one or two sessions we can work out if the condition is related to the neck and if treatment will be helpful.