Physio Camberwell - Physiotherapy Camberwell | Back In Motion

HEADACHES AND MIGRAINES – HOW? WHY? WHAT CAN WE DO?

Published: February 7, 2020

Have you had headaches or migraines that have lasted hours, days, weeks or even years? It can be incredibly crippling both physically and mentally. Those that have suffered for years have often tried everything: medications, surgeries, neurologists, physio, chiro, osteo, etc. Some may have provided temporary relief but the symptoms may eventually return.

Recent research has found that the three upper most vertebrae in your neck often play a significant role in headaches/migraines. Its location is close to the brainstem which can incidentally cause over-sensitisation and refer pain into the head. Despite this, some people can get headaches/migraines without feeling they have any neck pain or stiffness!

If you have headaches/migraines, there is an 80% likelihood that you have a poorly recognised and misunderstood fault in the top of your neck that is causing irritation of the 'headache centre' in the brainstem.

We know that:

  • Symptoms driven by problems in the neck can look identical to all forms of headache and migraine, even including migraine with aura and menstrual migraine.
  • The common problem underpinning all types of headache is an overactive trigeminal nucleus (in the brainstem).
  • There are proven techniques that are used to treat this overactivity (Watson Headache Approach)

During an initial assessment we look for three key signs that indicate that your neck is contributing to your symptoms:

  1. You have a small fault in the top of your neck.
  2. The fault reproduces your symptoms - this involves stressing the top three segments of the spine to temporarily reproduce and then ease your head pain. 
  3. We can quickly (within 20-30 seconds) change this fault, demonstrating that it is reversible. 

The initial treatment block requires two treatments per week for two weeks to establish the changes and correct the fault in the top of the neck. After this initial two week block we see significant changes in over 90% of people. We then typically discharge to self-management over the next 2-3 sessions.

If you have not had your neck assessed using the only hands on techniques specifically developed to test and treat the relationship between the neck and headaches, then you may be suffering unnecessarily.

Speak to our reception team to arrange an appointment with one of our experienced physios.

Author:

Dylan Clifford (Member APA) – Physiotherapist at Back In Motion Camberwell