How many of your patients with neck pain suffer from headaches as well, or vice-versa? Cervicogenic headaches are characterized by unilateral headache radiating from the posterior to anterior head, unilateral upper cervical pain and facet “locking,” which is often aggravated by sustained neck positions.
For cervicogenic headache patients, modalities such as TENS, cryotherapy, or low-level laser therapy can be helpful. Spinal manipulative therapy has been shown effective for cervicogenic headache patients in several studies. Other manual therapies such as instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization and kinesiological taping can be helpful adjuncts.
Therapeutic exercise including muscle stretching and specific strengthening exercises can help address muscle imbalances seen in cervicogenic headaches. Several studies have shown that cervical strengthening exercises with elastic resistance can help reduce headache and neck pain symptom.
In summary, management of cervicogenic headaches begins with an accurate diagnosis. A multi-modal approach including Thera-Band exercises, modalities and manual therapies can help to reduce symptoms of cervicogenic headache.
Cervicogenic headaches: An evidence-led approach to clinical management.
2011 Int J Sports Phys Ther. 6(3):254-266.