Who would have thought that physiotherapy helped headaches?

Most people suffer from headaches at some point in their lives. There are many different kinds of headaches and these can also be caused by many different variables such as temperature change, nutrition, lack of sleep, illness, muscle tension, etc.  Finding the cause of your headaches can be difficult, yet can be extremely useful into healing them in the best way possible.

The types of headaches that respond positively to physiotherapy are cervicogenic headaches. Cervicogenic headaches are related to your neck.  In other words, neck movements or certain neck positions can trigger head pain.  Poor joint movement in the neck and upper thoracic spine, muscle tension, muscle weakness and nerve pinching can all cause this type of headache.  With every head movement, our joints move and our muscles contract. If there is a dysfunction in your joints (either too stiff or too lose), our muscles can then overwork and create muscle tension.  Other than muscle tension, our neck muscles can also weaken and atrophy.   This happens from poor day-to-day posture or if your neck gets damaged. 

Muscle weakness can make the head feel heavy and unstable and this instability can then create even more instability.  Our bodies are excellent at compensating; therefore muscle weakness in the neck might even be present before headaches might start to appear.  Poor posture from sitting at a desk for 8 hours every day can definitely cause cervicogenic headaches. That is why good positioning and an ergonomic work environment can help prevent headaches as well.


Well depending on the source and reason for the headache, a full assessment of your neck and upper back movement, muscle strength, muscle tightness, joint mobility and posture is essential in finding the cause.  We can work on mobilizing the joints that are stiff and allow them to move correctly.  Muscle release techniques can also be used to decrease tension and exercises can help strengthen the muscles that are weak.  As for posture, improving day-to-day posture makes a huge difference in avoiding compensations to occur.

Often pain is the last sign we feel when there is a dysfunction.  Therefore coming in for an evaluation for a “kink” in your neck can potentially prevent you from having a headache!

For further questions on headaches and how physiotherapy can help you, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at or calling the clinic at 514-505-1774.

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