The most common headache that stems from the cervical spine is a cervicogenic headache. Pain may radiate to the back of the head, to the top of the head or to either side of the head and face. This headache occurs gradually or may occur due to an injury. Often, an individual will report an increase in symptoms with movement of the head or neck and decreased ability to complete normal neck motion. Other symptoms you may notice are as follows:
- Neck pain
- Muscle tenderness
- Tenderness over the joints of the neck
- Shoulder/arm pain on the same side of the headache
- Possible dizziness, nausea and lightheadedness
Your physical therapist will complete an in depth evaluation of your upper quadrant to determine which structures are contributing to your symptoms. The physical therapist will also include other appropriate tests and measures. Based on the results of the examination, the physical therapist will then design a specific treatment plan. The physical therapist will likely perform manual therapy techniques in order to decrease pain and increase the movement of the head/neck, next followed by specific exercises to increase strength and endurance of the deep neck muscles. Other treatments may include dry needling, ultrasound, traction, cardiovascular training and postural training.