Pain affecting any part of the head is called a headache.1 Headaches are a common and prevalent issue influencing approximately 66% of the population at some point in their lives.2 The symptoms can be diverse, many, and often disturbing the quality of life, and therefore represents a significant health problem. The cause of headaches are variable, as there are the three types of headaches—the International Headache Society describes three primary times of headaches including: 1) migraine or 2) Tension-type or 3) cluster headache.3

With the help of a physical therapist, they will assist you in identifying which HA symptoms you are experiencing by performing a thorough exam and reviewing your health history/symptoms. The physical therapist will ask questions regarding your symptoms and also perform movement tests to determine the cause of your headaches in order to tailor a program specific to your needs. More often than not, your physical therapist and physical therapy assistant will help you improve your symptoms and correct the issues causing your pain—ultimately working towards improving changes to reduce your headache frequency, intensity, and improving overall lifestyle.4


  1. Hall T, Briffa K, Hopper D. Clinical evaluation of cervicogenic headache: a clinical perspective. J Man Manip Ther. 2008;16:73–80.
  2. Stovner Lj, Hagen K, Jensen R, Katsarava Z, et al. Cephalalgia. 2007 Mar;27(3):193 210.
  3. International Headache Society. The Classification: Part I: The Primay Headaches. 2016. Accessed June 2016.
  4. Becker WJ. Cervicogenic headache: evidence that the neck is a pain generator. Headache. 2010;50:699–705.
    Written by: Todd Hodenfield, PT, DPT, OCS