• Neck Pain and Sleep Problems

    Any abnormalities, inflammation, or injury can cause neck pain or stiffness. Many people experience neck pain or stiffness occasionally. In many cases, it’s due to poor posture or overuse. Sometimes, neck pain is caused by injury from a fall, contact sports, or whiplash.

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    Gordon Bohlmann, BSc (PT), CGIMS, OMT, BSc HMS, Physiotherapist, discusses How to Treat a Headache.
    Gordon Bohlmann, BSc (PT), CGIMS, OMT, BSc HMS, Physiotherapist, discusses How to Treat a Headache.
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    Dr. Grant Lum, MD, CCFP, Dip Sports Med, Sports Medicine Physician, discusses tension headaches, diagnosis and common treatment options.
    Dr. Grant Lum, MD, CCFP, Dip Sports Med, Sports Medicine Physician, discusses tension headaches, diagnosis and common treatment options.
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    Carol Kennedy, BScPT, MClSc(manip), FCAMPT, Physiotherapist, discusses neck pain & headaches.
    Carol Kennedy, BScPT, MClSc(manip), FCAMPT, Physiotherapist, discusses neck pain & headaches.
  • The Symptoms of a Tension Headache

    The vast majority of people who have headaches have tension headaches, where most people think tension means tension as in stress emotionally.

    And although that can have an effect on how you feel, when a physician uses the term tension headache, what we mean is tension in the muscles in and around the head. So it’s actually a muscular condition.

    Oftentimes those types of headaches will respond well to things like medication including anti-inflammatories and pain killers. But what we find is that there are a lot of patients who have those headaches as a result of tension in the neck. So that tension in the muscles and the joints of the neck leads to tension in the muscles in and around the head.

    That type of headache typically is described like a squeezing or like a vice grip that goes all around the head. It’s not usually associated with phenomena like nausea or vomiting or changes in vision. With those types of symptoms we have to be more concerned about other kinds of headache. And that certainly requires the assessment of a local family  physician.

    If you have other questions about tension headache or you think you may have tension headache, there are lots of health professionals that can be helpful in reducing the stress that is in the muscles and in the joints of the neck.

    Video shot in conjunction with aesmphysiotherapytoronto.ca

    Presenter: Dr. Grant Lum, Sports Medicine Physician, Toronto, ON

    Local Practitioners: Sports Medicine Physician

  • Neck Pain & Headaches

    So cervicogenic headache is a headache that arises from the structures in the cervical spine or the neck, and that could be the joints, it could be the ligaments, it could be the muscles, and usually it’s the upper part of the neck.

    And about 20 percent of all headaches are cervicogenic. So there’s a huge classification of different types of neck pains, and only one of which is cervicogenic. And so usually what you look for if someone’s experiencing a headache that is coming from the neck, there’s usually some sort of associated involvement, like certain movements or postures, of the neck reproduce that headache.

    The neck pain and headache are usually on the same side. Classically, cervicogenic headache is what we call side-locked, so it’s on the same side as the side of the, of the neck pain, and there may also be associated shoulder and arm pain. Although if someone has neck pain on both sides, their headache might be on both sides as well.

    They can be episodic or fluctuating, and they can be moderate to severe. And they’re usually more common in females, but they can occur in males as well. And it’s very common to have some history of trauma. Several good studies have shown that a combination of manual therapy and exercise is what’s most effective in dealing with this type of headache, and that would involve manual therapy, involves hands-on mobilization, manipulation of those stiff joints in the upper part of the neck, or soft tissue techniques to loosen up some of that tight, hypertonic, hypertonic muscle structures in, in, again, up in the upper part of the neck.

    Exercise is another major component, and that would be stretching exercises to, to loosen those muscles, as well as some of the muscle balance patterning. Again, activating the core muscles and downtraining the superficial muscles that get too tight.

    So if you have the type of headache that seems to be associated directly with the neck, as your neck pain gets worse your headaches get worse, that’s the type of headache that a physiotherapist would be able to deal with through the manual therapy and the exercise. If you have a horrible headache like you’ve never had before that’s just come on out of the blue, that should be screened first by a, a physician, medical practitioner.

    But if it is a cervicogenic headache, then the proper assessment of what’s going on with your neck and then the treatment applied for that specific neck would be the most effective in dealing with your headaches.

    Presenter: Ms. Carol Kennedy, Physiotherapist, Vancouver, BC

    Now Health Network Local Practitioners: Physiotherapist

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