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Are Your Headaches Coming From Your Neck?

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cervicogenic headaches

Do you suffer from headaches?

Headaches can be a very painful and frustrating thing to live with. Whilst there are many different types of headaches which people may suffer from, 1 of the most common forms which we as physiotherapists treat here at Bodyfocus are.. Cervico-genic headaches or neck headaces

In essence…

Cervico-genic headaches originate from any joint, ligament, muscle or disc dysfunction within the neck (cervical spine), particularly in the upper section. 

A dysfunction in any of these areas can trigger pain signals that travel to your trigeminocervical nucleus (TCN) in your brainstem. This information is then transmitted into your brain and interpreted as a headache (Bogduk 2003). 

Research tells us that upto 22% of all headaches stem from the neck.

What are the 3 main causes of Cervico-genic headaches?

  1. Neck joints too stiff – not moving enough
  2. Neck joints too loose – too much movement
  3. Locked up joints or compressed due to poor posture

Your physiotherapist is an expert in the assessment and correction of neck joint dysfunctions that result in neck headache. Their professional diagnosis and treatment is essential for neck headache sufferers.

What are the Symptoms of Neck Headache?

Neck headaches are very often misdiagnosed or confused with other types of headache, including migraine, since the location of the pain is typically felt in the same area as a migraine. 

Only after careful consideration of all of the examination findings as well as the history obtained, can your physiotherapist confirm a neck headache diagnosis

Commonly, neck headache sufferers will usually notice:

  • Tenderness at the top of their neck and base of the skull. 
  • Neck stiffness or a mild loss of movement, although this is sometimes is only subtle and needs to be confirmed during your physiotherapist’s physical examination.

One of the main differences between neck headache and migraine is that physiotherapy treatment of your neck is able to alter or relieve your headache immediately.

Common Characteristics of a Neck Headache?

The following symptoms are characteristics of a neck headache. You may experience any one or several of these symptoms:

  • Your headache may seem to radiate from the back to the front of your head.
  • Your headache is provoked or eased by a neck movement, a sustained posture, stomach sleeping or with your head turned to one side.
  • Your headache normally appears to be worse on one side of your head. The side is normally constant and does not swap sides.
  • Your headache appears to temporarily ease up when you apply pressure or you massage your neck or the base of your skull.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, you are more likely than not to be suffering a neck headache. Please inform your physiotherapist and they will assist you.

What if Your Neck Isn’t Sore?

Even if your neck isn’t sore or painful, you can still experience neck headaches. It is important to remember that your neck joints may NOT be sore at REST, but they may be tender to touch or painful on movement. 

Neck joints that are sore at rest will normally be very tender to touch and painful at the extreme of movement. Obviously, this scenario is a more severe neck headache.

If your headache or a migraine has been present for years and your neck has not been examined, then a thorough neck examination is recommended and is appropriate to either confirm and treat your neck headache or exclude a neck disorder as the cause of your headache.

Some of the risk factors for developing neck related headaches are..

  • You work in an office in front of a computer for more than 5 hours per day
  • You have poor sitting posture
  • You don’t exercise
  • You are stressed
  • Your workstation is not ergonomically setup

So, if you suffer from headaches and have any one of these risk factors, then there is a good chance your headaches are stemming from your neck.

To find out if physiotherapy can help with your headaches, get in touch with us and let us know that you need help with your headache and one of our friendly physiotherapists will arrange a Headache Assessment for you.

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Helen Shang
Helen Shang
08:07 11 Mar 21
After Oscar left the company, the staff there not really care patient, so disappoint
Howard Pink
Howard Pink
13:58 06 Feb 21
Dr Louis is the best! He fixed me so many times. Highly recommend!
B A
B A
01:39 22 Jan 21
Hopefully I'm never injured again, but if I am, Jay at BodyFocus will be my first point of contact. He helped immensely... with a nagging & long term Shoulder & Lower Back injury.I highly recommend him to anyone in need of a quality Physio.read more
NICHOLAS ABI ESBER
NICHOLAS ABI ESBER
09:41 21 Jul 20
I would highly recommend this Physio clinic as they prove to give results to their clients especially Jay!
rupsikha baruah
rupsikha baruah
11:26 25 Feb 20
Friendly staff. Lvl 8 in Rhodes Shopping Centre..accessible via lift. You have to pay..check for discounts.
Fahad Alotaibi
Fahad Alotaibi
00:10 28 Nov 19
Excellent service with dr Louis. Have really back pain due to having a bad massage previously. So he really... helped.Thanksread more
Mellissa Admin
Mellissa Admin
01:01 11 Sep 19
I work in the local area and have found Bodyfocus to be amazing and would highly recommend. I had the pleasure of... having Sarah as my physio and she was friendly, knowledgeable and professional. She explained my injuries to me in easy to understand language and was able to get me back on my feet quickly. Every interaction with staff at Bodyfocus has been extremely positive and helpful. Would not go anywhere else now for physio.read more
Vanessa reinmuth
Vanessa reinmuth
06:48 07 Sep 19
Would recommend this place in a heartbeat! The service and care provided is second to none. In particular, I'd like to... call out Lauren who has been nothing but amazing, supportive and genuinely interested in how I'm progressing. I injured my hip and initially went to a physiotherapist closer to where I live, but my condition didn't get any better, so I decided to come over to Rhodes and give Bodyfocus a try - right after the first session I felt an instant relief. That was a few weeks ago and my mobility has been steadily increasing, while the pain has become so much better. Lauren also motivated me to exercise and I actually enjoy it. Overall, it's just been a fantastic experience.read more
Yuyan Cai
Yuyan Cai
00:43 04 Sep 19
Highly recommend Sarah. Her attitude and knowledge has made my recovery a quick and easy process. She has a great... understanding of how the body works and teaches you the process to live life to the fullest.Do not hesitate to reach out and connect with this amazing physio!read more
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Lucy-May Pitt
Physiotherapist

Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Charles Sturt University)

Lucy is a passionate physiotherapist who graduated from Charles Sturt University Albury- Wodonga

With a background as a professional ballerina in both Australia and the UK, Lucy has gained an in-depth understanding of the demands that sport can put on the body and the physical and mental requirements to become a successful athlete. Unfortunately Lucy’s career was cut short due to injury, which is what inspired her to become a Physiotherapist. She is passionate about injury recovery and prevention and works with her patients to keep them as active as possible while they heal. 

With an interest in sports, Lucy was the Head Sports Trainer with an O&M league AFL team in Albury for 

2 seasons where she worked with the team on injury prevention and attended to the players injuries on

 the field. She also has experience in Women’s Health and Vestibular conditions as well as inpatient

 rehabilitation in hospitals. 

Lucy uses a combination of hands on therapy, taping, mobilisations and dry needling techniques to

 accompany her exercise based approach. She also has experience teaching both mat based and 

reformer pilates and believes it is an excellent way to aid in injury prevention. 


Having recently moved to Sydney, Lucy is on the hunt for the best hiking locations! In her spare time, 

you can find her at the gym exploring Sydney with friends of getting stuck in a good book

 

Lucy has completed advanced training in: 

  • Sports trainer level 1 
  • Trigger point Dry Needling 
 

Sabina Bireroglu

BHlthSc/ MPodMed Podiatrist

Sabina has completed a Bachelor of Health Science/Mastering in Podiatric Medicine at University of Western Sydney. She has experienced working in different treatment settings including private practice, hospitals and mobile care. One experience in which takes forefront in her experiences is working in Ireland at Merlin Park Hospital.

She incorporates evidence based treatment plans in all scopes of podiatry including the general and chronic foot, injuries and pain, nail surgery, biomechanics and paediatrics. Outside of the clinic environment Sabina enjoys running, playing netball and playing the violin.

Dr Louis Darmizin

Chiropractor

From early childhood, Louis was exposed to Chiropractic due to his scoliosis and constant back pain. Being only 10 years of age, he was unable to participate in social and sports activities in fear of being in pain. Upon seeing the benefits of Chiropractic for his back, Louis focused his life on helping others achieving a pain free and healthy lifestyle.

Louis graduated with a Bachelor and Masters of Chiropractic Science from Macquarie University. After practicing in the best clinics in Sydney, he is now the founder of Dynamic Spine Clinic. He is a very passionate and motivated practitioner that makes your problems his own.

Louis has a extensive knowledge in posture and back related injuries. He combines his treatment with soft tissue therapy, acupuncture, rehabilitation and lifestyle advice. His treatments are individualized to suit each patient in order to achieve the best outcome possible.

Louis has a passion for soccer, tennis and rugby. He also earned local, regional and state level competition titles as a squad swimmer.

His goal is to inspire, educate and encourage his patients to reach a happy and enjoyable lifestyle. He believes that Chiropractic care is an essential tool to maintain wellness, improve posture, eliminate pain and stress.

Sarah D’arcy

Physiotherapist - General & Women's Health Physiotherapy

Sarah is a passionate physiotherapist who graduated with distinction from Charles Sturt University, Orange, NSW. Sarah has worked within the public health system and has experience in orthopaedic, fracture clinic, medical, respiratory, musculoskeletal, rehabilitation, hydrotherapy, emergency department, intensive care and women’s health physiotherapy.

Sarah has an interest in all areas of musculoskeletal physiotherapy and is always looking for opportunities to expand her knowledge to grow as a clinician. Sarah is highly ambitious and applies herself in all areas of work and life. She is driven by her desire to become a go-to physiotherapist by providing the best evidenced-based care to all of her clients to achieve positive outcomes. Sarah enjoys staying active, being outdoors, and socialising. Sarah enjoys new experiences and is always willing to try new things. Sarah believes you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it and are willing to put in the effort.

Sarah has completed training in comprehensive assessment and treatment of the pelvic floor. This includes complete subjective and objective (including internal examinations) of pelvic floor problems, such as:

  • Bladder and bowel issues
  • Antenatal and postnatal pelvic floor
  • Pregnancy related back pain
  • Pre and postnatal exercise
  • ProlapseTears during child birth

Sarah consults from our Rhodes clinic.

WILSON HUI

APA TITLED MUSCULOSKELETAL PHYSIOTHERAPIST

Wilson graduated from University of Sydney as a physiotherapist and he has always been keen on learning new things so that he can do what is best for patients. On top of ongoing professional development, he completed a Master in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy from University of Melbourne to gain further knowledge.

Wilson has worked in various private practices in the past and managed a variety of clienteles, from acute musculoskeletal and sports injuries to pre/post-op rehabilitation, and from injury prevention to performance enhancement. He has also done a range of sports coverage as a physiotherapist, such as City2Surf and Sydney Half Marathon etc.

Wilson has done extensive training and obtained certifications in multiple techniques and areas, below are some examples but not limited to:

  • Dry Needling
  • Mulligan’s Concepts
  • McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy
  • Kinesio Taping
  • Sports Level 1 and 2

When Wilson is not working and not injured (if injured, rest and doing own rehab), he plays competitive table tennis. He is also a recreational road and trail runner.

Wilson can speak Cantonese and Mandarin.

Jay Kasthuriarachchi Senior Physiotherapist

APA Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist
Masters of Sports Physiotherapy (La Trobe)

Jay is a relaxed yet attentive and thorough physiotherapist whose passion lies in sports and musculoskeletal physiotherapy. He has worked in private practices in North Sydney and Richmond, as well as doing sports coverage work over a variety of sports including Gridiron, Football (Soccer), Rugby Union, Rugby League, AFL and is currently the lead physiotherapist of the West Tigers Under 21’s (Jersey Flegg). This opportunity has allowed him to spend time with the NRL squad, assisting with the rehab of their injured 1st grade players. He was also recently part of the medical team working at the GoldCoast Commonwealth Games in April 2018.

Jay has recently completed his postgraduate qualifications in Sports Physiotherapy at La Trobe University. This course allowed him to learn of senior physiotherapists at the GWS Giants, and Rugby Australia, learning their rehab techniques and long term injury prevention strategies. Jay is extremely knowledgeable and skillful with the ability to lead you to excellent results. He will find out why you cannot perform at your peak and develop a treatment plan that addresses your goals.

Jay also has had experience playing cricket, having played 1st grade cricket for the North-West Sydney Hurricanes in the Sydney Shires Competition and understands the frustration that “weekend warrior” athletes have with missing out on playing sports due to an injury.

He has completed advanced training in:

  • Advanced Hip and Groin
  • Sports Level 2 (APA)
  • Trigger Point Dry Needling
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach Level 2