VA News


: Updating treatment for cervicogenic headaches

Cervicogenic headaches originate from the neck. Columbia VA hosted a cervicogenic head pain conference in May, attended by over 40 health care professionals across the country.

Dr. Christa Smit, physical therapist from Quillen VA, presented an update on cervicogenic migraines, their diagnosis, and treatment. She stressed the importance of a thorough examination of the neck and upper spine in headache patients.

“It is important that we stay on top of available evidence, as it constantly evolves along with our profession.” These conferences bring together clinicians with similar goals who want to improve the lives of their patients. They also provide an opportunity for us to grow together and to better serve our patients.

The conference included a lab demonstration on dry needling (photo above), a technique that is used to treat musculoskeletal discomfort. Dr. Benjamin Thomas was the workshop leader. He is a physical therapist, orthopedic specialist and dry needling expert at Charlie Norwood VA. The workshop participants had the chance to learn the technique and then practice it on one another.

It is important to come together and learn clinical skills.

Meredith Hall, Chief of Physical Therapy at the Columbia VA, spoke about the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration for the management of cervicogenic migraines. She emphasized the role of physical therapists in treating this condition, and the importance working with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive treatment.

“It’s important to bring practitioners from different areas together for networking, and to raise awareness about research that can be used for evidence-based practices. It is important to come together for the hands on clinical skills in order to put the newly acquired skills into daily practice.

Daniel Muluneh shared his experience as a physical therapist in Richmond, VA. “The ability to connect with others at conferences such as these is very important. Being able to do this at a VA-hosted event is more beneficial to me than a private sector event.

“I work in a traumatic-brain injury clinic and I see a lot patients with neck and head pain. This is perfect for me.” I learned a lot about cervicogenic migraine. “The workshop on dry-needling and manual manipulation is directly applicable and I plan to bring it back to Richmond.”

Columbia VA

The Wm. The Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center is located in South Carolina, along with seven community-based clinics, including Anderson, Florence and Rock Hill. We serve over 90,000 Veterans in 36 of the 46 counties in South Carolina.