Do you suffer from headaches, neck pain, neck stiffness or all of the above?
You may be suffering from cervicogenic headaches (CGH).
CGH’s are headaches that originate from the neck and occipital region of the head. CGH’s are often misdiagnosed for a primary headache as presenting symptoms are
very similar. Primary headaches are headaches that do not originate from a secondary source
such as the neck. CGH’s are usually associated with a limited range of motion in the cervical spine or
pain in the neck, shoulder or arm. Headache pain is aggravated or changed with specific neck movements or sustained postures.
Causes of CGH’s:
 Poor posture
 Overloaded and tight neck muscles
 Muscle imbalances
 Cervical spine joint stiffness
 Whiplash injuries
 Stress
 Sleeping posture

Diagnosis:
Diagnosis of CGH’s is made through a number of different techniques such as:

  • A subjective examination to differentiate between other types of headaches such as
    migraines.
  • An active range of motion assessment to analyse cervical spine movements.
  • Palpation of the neck muscles to asses muscle tightness and associated trigger
    points.
  • Joint mobilizations to asses stiffness of the cervical spine.

Static and dynamic postural assessment of the neck and shoulders.

Do you suffer from headaches, neck pain, neck stiffness or all of the above?
You may be suffering from cervicogenic headaches (CGH).
 CGH’s are headaches that originate from the neck and occipital region of the head.
 CGH’s are often misdiagnosed for a primary headache as presenting symptoms are
very similar.
 Primary headaches are headaches that do not originate from a secondary source
such as the neck.
 CGH’s are usually associated with a limited range of motion in the cervical spine or
pain in the neck, shoulder or arm.
 Headache pain is aggravated or changed with specific neck movements or sustained
postures.
Causes of CGH’s:
 Poor posture
 Overloaded and tight neck muscles
 Muscle imbalances
 Cervical spine joint stiffness
 Whiplash injuries
 Stress
 Sleeping posture

Diagnosis:
 Diagnosis of CGH’s is made through a number of different techniques such as:
 A subjective examination to differentiate between other types of headaches such as
migraines.
 An active range of motion assessment to analyse cervical spine movements.
 Palpation of the neck muscles to asses muscle tightness and associated trigger
points.
 Joint mobilizations to asses stiffness of the cervical spine.
 Static and dynamic postural assessment of the neck and shoulders.

Treatment:
 Treatment consists of manual therapy to address muscle stiffness with stretching
and associated trigger points.
 Muscles treated include the Sternocleidomastoid, Trapezius, Scalenes, Levator
scapulae and the Suboccipital muscles.
 Mobilizations of the cervical spine to increase range of motion and decrease muscle
stiffness.

 Postural analysis to address any factors that may be the cause excessive muscle
tightness around the cervical spine. For example, anteriorly rolled shoulders may be
contributing to overactivation of the upper trapezius muscle which causes excessive
tightness of the muscle.
 Corrective exercises may be prescribed to address the postural abnormality if
appropriate such as scapular stability exercises.

Written by Aaron Vibert (Physiotherapist) if you have any questions regarding headaches
Please don’t hesitate to contact the clinic on 0411 299 110.

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