Common Causes & Symptoms
When you are tight in your upper neck, the nerves, joints and muscles in this area can be compressed and spread pain directly into your head and face. Sitting with your chin poking forward for long periods of time, for example when you look at your computer screen, is one of the most common causes of problems as it squashes the joints and muscles in the upper neck.
Sypmtoms can include
Pain in the head and upper neck, starting as a band-like tightness or pressure.
A band of pressure encircling the head with the most intense pain over the eyebrows or temples.
Attacks occur sporadically (without a pattern), though may be affected by time spent in front of the TV, or computer screen. Headaches may also trigger migraines.
How we can help
Physiotherapy can produce dramatic results in the reduction of headaches. 80% of all head pain comes from tension in your upper spine, neck and shoulder muscles, facial muscles and joints. Physiotherapy can directly address not only the headache, but the underlying cause of your pain giving both short and long term relief. As there are so many structures which can cause headaches, it is essential that a thorough assessment is done so that every muscle, joint and nerve contributing to your pain is identified and treated. Because your facial muscles can tighten up, particularly with stress, they too need to be assessed and treated as part of your therapy, leaving no stone unturned.
Come in for an assessment with one of our Physios. We will put you through a series of tests to see exactly where your pain stems from, and begin your treatment programme. Treatment involves hands-on therapy to release your muscles and joints, in combination with exercises to give you more control of your upper neck. We will also identify the events and stresses which may be causing your problem - this often includes poor Ergonomics. Treatment is aimed at loosening your joints and muscles and we keep you flexible by helping you to change any habitual head positions which irritate your neck.
Deep Tissue Massage reduces head pain by loosening out Trigger Points (tight knots in your muscles) in the upper back and neck muscles, which takes the pressure off your joints and nerves. Loosening out this area will help you to improve your posture, and make it easier for you to maintain positions which are stress and strain free.
Stress is a common cause of tension headaches and to help you relax and unwind we offer various Massage Therapies. We also provide various other health treatments at our Edinburgh clinic which compliment massage, and reduce your level of stress such as yoga and Pilates.
Dental NTI Splints : These discrete mouth splints, worn at night, were developed in America and as they are so new in the UK, only a handful of Dentists around the country are qualified to prescribe them. Studies have shown that the NTI splint decreases stress in the jaw and can reduce migraine or head pain attacks by up to 75 per cent in 75 per cent of its users. Furthermore it is the only appliance that has passed the rigorous testing of the Food and Drugs Agency (FDA) in the United States and has been approved for prevention of medically diagnosed migraine pain.
Remember, one of the best ways to keep your problem away is to have regular Deep Tissue Massage. Depending on how much time you spend in sitting at work, a deep tissue massage a month is highly effective in keeping you pain free- just ask your Therapist how often you need to attend.
If you have a history of headaches, we recommend check-ups with your Physio at least once every 6 months or more often if you have a high stress or sedentary job, just like your dental check ups.
Pilates exercise therapy can improve your neck and upper back muscle control, lessening the stresses and strains on the nerves which pass from your neck into your head. Some of our Therapists use Pilates exercises in combination with muscle balance exercises as a part of your treatment.
Products and Companies we recommend : A good pillow and mattress will support your neck and back and allow your muscles to relax fully at night. A lower back pillow, or Lumbar Roll will support your back whilst you sit, particularly useful for your office chair or car seat, and helps you to reduce the strain in your neck by supporting you in an upright sitting position. Good equipment reduces the stresses on your body and will help to keep you pain free.