Cervicogenic Headaches

Headaches are a very common occurrence and there is an increasing body of evidence that supports the benefits of Physiotherapy in the treatment of them.

 Headaches can be broadly separated into 2 types- ‘musculoskeletal’ and ‘medical’.

The neck related headaches are called cervicogenic headaches and are usually felt on both sides of the head, but may be predominantly on one side and usually accompanied by neck pain.

Cervicogenic headaches can be caused by:

·         Poor posture

·         Trauma like that sustained in a motor vehicle accident

·         Osteoarthritic changes in the neck joints

·         Stress and tension

·         Jaw issues

 

Neck pain and headaches are often made worse by extended periods of sitting.  The neck is tender to the touch and head movements can be restricted.

 The precise reason for a headache occurring may be complicated and therefore, it is important that a Physiotherapist completes a thorough assessment to determine if the symptoms fit the cervicogenic pattern.

 At Albert Park Physiotherapy, we have a number of effective ways to treat cervicogenic headaches including:

·         Manual therapy such as massage and spinal mobilisation

·         Trigger point dry needling

·         Exercise therapy

·         The provision of education, advice and assurance to ensure a person understands the nature of their headache and has the knowledge to actively participate in the care of their neck.

 If you are experiencing headaches or require further information about the above blog, please do not hesitate to contact the clinic.

KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS

Diagnosis

It is now accepted that the best way to diagnosis osteoarthritis in your knee (and many other joints for that matter) is your health practitioner interviewing you thoroughly about your problem and closely examining your knee – especially how it looks, feels, moves and most importantly, determining what you can and can’t do easily.

In most cases X-rays and/or scans are not necessary for diagnosis, and are not helpful for determining the severity of your problem or what treatment is best for you.

Management

The most important person involved in managing your knee arthritis is you!

A Physiotherapist’s role is to educate and advise you on the nature of your problem and how best to manage it so you can minimize its effect on your daily life. So, in a way, your physiotherapist acts like your personal “body” coach!

In the case of knee osteoarthritis, there are three main areas of management that are the key to a good outcome:

1.      Keeping your joint healthy – Learning how to protect your knee from exacerbations, what best to do if such a flare up occurs and maintaining your knee joint in as good a condition as possible. Your physiotherapist can advise you on all of these important strategies.

2.      Exercise – this includes strengthening and stretching exercises and increasing your general fitness – your physiotherapist will design a program especially for you and your lifestyle. Research has shown that exercise is as effective as drug treatment for management of knee osteoarthritis and, of course, has less side-effects and great side benefits!

3.      Weight loss and load management – knees are very sensitive to weight gain, so even a small loss of weight can reap great benefits for your knee. Your physiotherapist can give you advice on modifying your activity, exercise and/or sport routines so you are not overloading the knee.

Good management of knee osteoarthritis means less pain and disability and hopefully puts off or negates the need for surgery in the future.

 

Treatment for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Temporomandibular joint disorder… What is it?

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a condition that effects the joint/s of your jaw. It can be painful, cause a loss of function and emotional distress.

How common is TMJ Disorder?

Up to 25% of males and 30% of females will, at any given time, suffer from it. TMJ disorder is considered to be under-reported which means that there are likely to be more, rather than less people who suffer this condition.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder:

• Pain in the jaw
• Earache – normally felt just in front of the ear
• Headache – mainly temple area, also in the eyes and/or back of head
• Clicking/clunking of jaw
• Reduced movement (locking) of jaw
• Bruxism (grinding of teeth at night)
• Morning pain in jaw area
• Avoidance of foods (e.g. apples, bread rolls, meats)

Possible causes of TMJ Disorder:

• Accidents/Injuries • Orthodontics • Surgery to the jaw/teeth
• Removal of wisdom teeth

Which part of the TMJ can be injured?

• Temporo-mandibular disc • Articular capsule • Ligaments • Muscles

What can be done about TMJ Disorder?

• Specific physiotherapy assessment and treatment (that could include massage, mobilisation of the TMJ (both intra and extra-oral techniques), exercises, dry needling, electrotherapy).
• Occlusion splints (see your dentist)
• Using heat/cold packs for pain relief
• Medications to reduce inflammation/muscle spasm/pain (your GP may be involved)
• Modification of postures or habits
• Diet modification
• Surgical intervention (by an oral-maxillofacial surgeon)

How long does it take to recover from TMJ Disorder?

Recovery time depends on:
• How long you have had the condition
• Whether you do the exercises prescribed
• Whether you adhere to the advice given
• Your response to the physiotherapy intervention

Who can help with TMJ Disorder?

Our principal David Bajayo, is an experienced physiotherapist with specific post-graduate training in assessing and treating clients with TMJ/TMD.