Many headaches are caused by issues going on at the neck, and because we like our fancy words, we call these Cervicogenic Headaches. Typically, this means that some of the joints and muscles in the neck are stiff and irritated. This problem can unfortunately stick around for a long time and lead to a great deal of discomfort and annoyance. Hallmark symptoms of this type of headache include one-sided head pain, and aggravation with certain postures or activities, such as sitting at a computer or sleeping on your stomach.
Fortunately, physiotherapy treatment is effective for Cervicogenic Headaches. After a thorough assessment, treatment is tailored to ‘loosen up’ the region and restore normal movement. This will consist of manual (hands-on) therapy directed at the joints and muscles around the neck. A few high value exercises have been identified that really help this condition too.
2) Jaw Pain!
Temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) is another annoying condition that responds really well to quality Physiotherapy. TMD involves the muscles of the jaw and the disc within the jaw-joint. Symptoms often include facial pain, headaches, and pain with jaw movements. This is particularly common for young and middle-aged adults. Physiotherapy (again) starts with a thorough assessment looking at the muscles and joints of the jaw, head, neck and upper back. Interventions will be based on your unique presentation and will include manual therapy, good advice, and some therapeutic exercises.
There’s a particular type of vertigo that does extremely well with Physiotherapy. Low and behold it has a fancy name: Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (or BPPV for non-nerds). This condition is prevalent in adults of all ages, but particularly in seniors. Of all the inner ear disorders that can cause dizziness or vertigo (that room-is-spinning sensation), BPPV is by far the most common. When you break it down, the name itself tells us a lot about how it presents:
- Benign: not life-threatening
- Paroxysmal: comes in sudden, brief spells (typically <30 seconds in duration)
- Positional: triggered by certain head movements or positions
- Vertigo: sense of room spinning/whirling
Basically, BPPV describes a problem in the inner ear where some small crystals are displaced. For the scientifically inclined, it occurs when otoconia (small crystals) move from the utricle (where they should normally sit) to one of three fluid-filled semicircular canals. These crystals swim in the fluid in the canals, causing the brain to experience a false sense of movement. BPPV is diagnosed by your physiotherapist with a series of positional tests, and can often be treated in just one to three session with a series of specific head movements that put the small crystals back in their place. This one is a real gem of a treatment, and can make an enormous difference for people who have felt trapped by their vertigo.