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How’s your head Fred?

Do you suffer from headaches?

Many people at one stage or another in their lives have suffered from a headache or migraine.

Do you know why headaches or migraines occur? Are you aware that osteopaths can assist in the treatment of neck pain causing headaches and migraines?

The International Headache Society1classifies headaches into being Primary or Secondary.

Primary headaches:

  • Migraines
  • Tension-type headaches
  • Trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias
  • Other

Secondary headaches are those attributed to:

  • Trauma or injury to the head and/or neck
  • Cranial or cervical vascular disorders
  • Non-vascular intracranial disorders
  • The consumption or withdrawal from substances such as but not limited to alcohol and drugs.
  • Infections

For more information and further breakdown of these classifications visit:

Recent research on prevalence of headaches and migraines have shown that they are seen more commonly in women than men2. Some of the speculated reasons as to why this occurs is mainly due to the balance of hormones through menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause, hormone replacement medications or stroke3.

Tension-type headache

These are the most common form of headache and up to 80% of the population will suffer from a tension-type headache in their lifetime4. They are generally described as a dull, mild to moderate pressure pain on both sides of your head that may cause neck pain5,6.


Migraines are generally described as severe one-sided throbbing pain that may or may not cause neck pain4. Migraines may also differentiate themselves from headaches with the presence of aura. An aura is a reversible visual or sensory change (numbness and tingling) that can occur with nausea, vomiting,light and sound sensitivity5,6.

Migraines are known to have triggers, as Osteopaths we will take a thorough history to help rule in or out specific triggers. Some known triggers include certain foods, hormones, sleep patterns, intensity of exercise and medications.

Cervicogenic headaches

Cervicogenic headaches are secondary headaches that are caused by disorders of the cervical spine and/or other structures of the head and neck7. These headaches are generally described as a dull pain and localised to a specific region of the head4.


Once the known cause of your headaches is determined, as Osteopaths we can help develop a treatment plan to assist with the management of your headaches.

Osteopathic treatment in combination with specific exercises has been found to reduce headache frequency and intensity8. The techniques we use include massage, stretching, myofascial release9and manipulation. These techniques in combination with exercise10and nutritional guidance (if required) may provide some relief.

If you suffer from headaches – book online now to consult with one of our Osteopaths.



  1. ICHD-3 The International Classification of Headache Disorders 3rd edition [Internet]. ICHD-3 The International Classification of Headache Disorders 3rd edition. 2019 [cited 4 September 2019]. Available from:


  1. Burch R, Rizzoli P, Loder E. The Prevalence and Impact of Migraine and Severe Headache in the United States: Figures and Trends From Government Health Studies. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. 2018;58(4):496-505.


  1. Kalidas K. Migraines in Women [Internet]. Chicago OB/Gyne. 2017 [cited 4 September 2019]. Available from:


  1. Headache Australia | Funding Research and Supporting Patients [Internet]. Headache Australia. 2019 [cited 4 September 2019]. Available from:


  1. Liang Z, Galea O, Thomas L, Jull G, Treleaven J. Cervical musculoskeletal impairments in migraine and tension type headache: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice. 2019;42:67-83.


  1. Rizzoli P, Mullally W. Headache. The American Journal of Medicine. 2018;131(1):17-24.


  1. Bogduk N, Govind J. Cervicogenic headache: an assessment of the evidence on clinical diagnosis, invasive tests, and treatment. The Lancet Neurology. 2009;8(10):959-968.


  1. Cramer H, Hehlke M, Vasmer J, Rampp T, Anheyer D, Saha F et al. Integrated care for migraine and chronic tension-type headaches: A prospective observational study. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2019;36:1-6.


  1. Arab A, Ramezani E. Sub occipital myofascial release technique for the treatment of cervicogenic headache. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. 2018;22(4):859.


  1. Miller J, Gross A, D’Sylva J, Burnie S, Goldsmith C, Graham N et al. Manual therapy and exercise for neck pain: A systematic review. Manual Therapy. 2010;15(4):334-354.
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