Headaches & Migraines

headaches-and-migraines

What is a headache?

A headache is a pain anywhere in the head or neck. Aside from the obvious pain or ache in the head, other symptoms include nausea, dizziness, lethargy, pain behind the eye and sensitivity to light. Headaches are one of the most common health complaints, with approximately 75% of the population suffering one or more headaches in a given year.

Causes of headaches

Headaches are usually harmless but occasionally indicate more serious disease. If your headache is associated with a recent head injury, stiff neck and vomiting, fever or numbness/tingling/ weakness in the arms or legs, you should consult your GP immediately.

The more common types of headaches may be triggered by:

  • Neck problems
  • Stress
  • Dental and jaw problems
  • Sinus conditions
  • Eye conditions
  • Hormonal influences
  • Dietary sensitivities

How can physiotherapy help?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, you may have problems with range of motion, joint stiffness, ligament thickening or muscle imbalances and a physiotherapist will be able to advise you. A detailed history from you helps the physiotherapist work out the cause of the headache and related symptoms. A physical assessment is performed next to determine the extent of joint stiffness, swelling and muscle spasms and to address predisposing factors which may prevent recurrence. A treatment plan is then devised which may include joint mobilisation, soft tissue massage, traction, stretching, heat and electrotherapeutic modalities such as ultrasound and TENS. A physiotherapist will also teach appropriate exercises to help you manage your headaches at home.