Through years of observation and treatment of headache and migraine sufferers, Dean Watson has worked out that there is one thing that is (as yet) an unwritten rule.
If your headaches/migraines swap sides, then your neck is the number one culprit until proven otherwise.
If they are worse sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right side, even if they are 90% of the time on one side and only 10% of the time on the other side, that is still an alternating headache, and it still means that your neck is the number one culprit.
That doesn’t mean that headaches that are only ever on one side are not related to your neck either – it just means that if they swap, you can definitely say that they are from your neck.
Here is an interesting sidenote.
This information isn’t part of the International Headache Society guidelines, so you won’t find it described there. In fact, in previous versions, the IHS document has stated that cervicogenic headaches are only ever on one side (‘sidelocked’).
However, if you go to the trouble of downloading the International Headache Society guidelines, you will find that the section on headaches related to the neck are actually very hard to find.
Out of 180 pages, cervicogenic headache is on page 176. The last two pages are definition of terms for the whole document, so effectively they are on the second to last page of a 178 page document. It still blows me away!
If you talk with any physiotherapist, chiropractor, osteopath or anyone on the street who has ever suffered a headache, they will tell you that the neck is the main contributor for a huge number of the headache sufferers.
If you are suffering from headaches or migraines, remember: they don’t have to rule your life.
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If you want more information about what we do at Adelaide West Headache Clinic, call us on 8356 1000 or email me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.