Many of us, at some point in our lives will experience a headache. People that suffer from regular, persistent headaches know it can be debilitating and frustrating. There are many different types of headaches and it can often be hard to determine the reason behind them.
If you are noticing that you are always getting a headache at work, sitting at your desk or turning your head, it may be related to your neck. This type of headache is referred to as a cervicogenic headache.
Some questions to ask yourself if you suspect your headache may be related to your neck:
- Do you experience neck pain and stiffness or pain at the base of the skull with your headache?
- Does your pain begin in the neck and move into the head as it worsens?
- Is your headache felt on one side of your head?
- Does your headache worsen when you engage in lots of sitting or computer work or with certain neck movements?
If you answered yes to these questions, your headaches may be related to your neck. Factors that could be contributing to this at work might include:
- Set up of your workstation.
- Prolonged positions or lack of movement throughout the day.
- Awkward neck positions.
Tips for if you are experiencing headaches due to neck pain at work:
Correct desk or office set up
- Correct the screen height (at eye level) to keep a neutral neck posture.
- Adjust your chair height to avoid being in a hunched position.
- Supportive, comfortable chair with good lumbar support.
- Sitting tall with a neutral spine and chin tucked in to avoid forward head posture and unnecessary strain on the neck
- Create good postural habits wherever you are – not just at work.
- Set reminders to frequently moving and changing positions can prevent prolonged postures.
- Getting up to go for a walk, grab a drink or even doing stretches at your desk can get you out of those prolonged positions.
- It is recommended to move every 20-25 minutes.
Our physiotherapists can help by designing an individualised exercise program to target deficits or weakness in the neck or back and effectively help patients alleviate their headaches caused by neck dysfunction.
See a physiotherapist for ‘hands-on’ treatment
Manual therapy is a powerful tool which includes mobilisation of stiff joints and massage of the surrounding neck muscles. Our physiotherapists can provide this hands-on treatment to help reduce neck related headaches.
As with any condition, ache or pain, it is important to understand the underlying cause. Our physiotherapists at Physioactive can help to determine whether your headache is related to your neck and can provide you with some advice on how to reduce the risk of headaches in the office.
Written by Samantha Matthews physiotherapist at Physioactive SA.