Headaches are one of the most common symptoms experienced by humans, and we all know how much of an interruption they can be to your day!
Why some people frequently experience headaches, while others may never, is still unknown. Very occasionally headaches can be the result of a more serious disease however they are usually harmless.
The brain itself is insensitive to pain, whereas its covering membranes, larger blood vessels and other structures within the head and upper neck (e.g., eyes, ears, sinuses, skin, muscle and joints) are richly supplied by nerve fibres capable of transmitting the experience of pain.
One common source triggering a headache is upper neck joint dysfunction. This is where irritation in the upper neck from mechanical, chemical or inflammatory mechanisms triggers pain sensitive nerve fibres to send a ‘pain’ message to the brain.
Once the pain signals get to the brain, it needs to decide from where the pain signals arise. Since the nerves that supply the upper neck also supply the skin overlying the head, forehead, jaw line, back of the eyes and ears, the brain may decided that the signal is coming from the head, therefore you feel a headache rather than having neck pain. This is also known as a cervicogenic headache.
Although cervicogenic headaches can occur at any age, it is commonly seen in patients between the ages of twenty and sixty.
All our physiotherapists are well trained to treat upper neck joint dysfunction to ease your headache. Come and visit us to see how we can help you regain control of your headaches!
By Amy Baum
- B.Phty (hons)