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.


Making things fit people


What is ergonomics?

In simple terms, ergonomics focuses on optimizing workspaces using specialised equipment and furniture which are unique to the needs of the worker, improving comfort and efficiency in the workplace. 

Why bother?

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) were the highest incidence of claims (58%) in 2015/16 of all injuries in the workforce. These injuries are the most prevalent in the office environment.

  • Ergonomic intervention reduces rates of workplace injury, improves productivity (in some cases >10%), reduces lost/restricted workdays, reduces staff turnover, reduces staff absenteeism, can have a ROI of up to 84:1.


  • Immediate median costs of a serious claim is around $10K, median time off work is 5.2 weeks.


  • Total costs to the employer are significant - overtime to cover the injured worker, change to workers compensation insurance excess and premiums, staff turnover and recruitment costs and, staff training/retraining. 


What do we do?

At Albert Park Physiotherapy, we have physiotherapists that are experts in providing ergonomic assessments and make recommendations to meet your ergonomic needs. We help to reduce ergonomic risk factors for the workplace, reduce the rate for workplace injury and improve staff retention, comfort and happiness.

Our services

 Office Sweep

1.       This is a proactive way to prevent workplace MSDs, and improve productivity and comfort by quickly evaluating a person’s fit to a workstation

Individual Ergonomic Assessments

An individual ergonomic assessment is required when:

1.       A staff member has an existing injury and/or;

2.       A staff member is consistently reporting pain when working (at the workplace or at home working) and/or;

3.       A staff member has a referral for a health professional requesting assessment or workstation modification.

See below table to help determine what service/s you may require:

Ergonomics table.JPG

Treatment for Headaches and Migraines

What are headaches and migraines?

Headaches and migraines are terms used to describe pain felt in the face, head or upper neck. There are literally hundreds of different diagnoses for headaches/migraines e.g. tension type headaches, migraine with/without aura; however many headaches and migraines are along the one continuum (1).

How common are headaches/migraines?

According to extrapolated figures, up to three million people suffer from migraine and up to seven million suffer from tension-type headaches in Australia (2). Nearly all people who suffer with migraines and 60% of headaches sufferers experience a reduction in their social activities and work capacity during episodes.

What are the causes of primary headaches and migraines?

For those who are interested in the science, current physiotherapy research focuses on the contribution of the ‘trigeminal cervical nucleus’ to headache and migraine. This area of the brainstem acts as an amplifier when sensitised; increasing its outputs to the sensory cortex, thereby creating a perceptible increase in pain experience. By using specific manual techniques to the upper cervical spine, desensitisation of the trigeminal cervical nucleus amplification occurs, and a significant reduction in headaches/migraines can be achieved. (3,4)

Can physio treat my headaches/migraines?

Yes! Whilst all our physios at Albert Park Physiotherapy can treat headaches and migraines; Principal Physiotherapist, David Bajayo, has undertaken specific postgraduate training in the treatment of headaches and migraines. In addition to attending the 3 day Level I Foundation Headache Course, David recently completed a 2 day Level II Consolidation Headache Course; 'The Role of CO-C3 Segmental Dysfunction in Primary Headache' in Sydney under the guidance of Australian Physiotherapist Dean Watson of the Watson Headache® Institute. The Watson Headache® Approach is an internationally recognised and scientifically researched method of examining, diagnosing and treating headache and migraine conditions.

No matter how long you have had your headache or migraine for, come and see David. In the vast majority of cases (80%), people with headaches or migraines experience improvements within 3-4 treatment sessions. Call Albert Park Physiotherapy (Melbourne) on (03) 9690 5858 for an appointment.

1. Vargas BB, (2008): Tension-type headache and migraine: two points on a continuum? Current Pain Headache Reports Dec;12(6):433-6.

2. http://headacheaustralia.org.au/what-is-headache/11-prevalence-and-cost-of-headache, Headache Australia, website accessed 20/9/2014.

3. Dean H. Watson and Peter D. Drummond (2012):  Head Pain Referral During Examination of the Neck in Migraine and Tension-Type Headache. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain Volume 52, Issue 8, Pages: 1226–1235

4. Dean H. Watson and Peter D. Drummond (2014) Cervical Referral of Head Pain in Migraineurs: Effects on the Nociceptive Blink Reflex Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain Volume 54, Issue 6, June 2014, Pages: 1035–1045, Dean H. Watson and Peter D. Drummond