Head & Neck

Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches are a common condition, affecting up to
1 in 5 of us. The exact cause of Migraine headaches is unknown,
and they appear to vary from person to person. They are thought
to be due to temporary changes in blood vessels in the brain,
which in turn, result in the release of chemicals via nerve fibres.
The chemicals start a process of inflammation which results in
pain. The sympathetic nervous system is triggered, making the
sufferer vomit or even experience diarrhoea. In the case of
migraine headaches, this physiological response is often associated
with certain triggers such as tiredness, smells, bright lights,
certain foods and the beginning of a woman’s menstrual cycle (hormonal).

How to tell if you have a migraine headache

You experience:

  • Feeling or actually being sick
  • A throbbing in the head or back of eye
  • You become more sensitive to light and sound
  • The pain is on one side only
  • Potential Aura before the migraine kicks in

    When to seek medical help

    Please call 999 if you experience any of the following:

  • Paralysis or weakness in one or both arms and/or one side of the face
  • Slurred or garbled speech
  • A sudden agonising headache resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before
  • Headache along with a high temperature (fever), stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision and a rash
  • These symptoms can be a sign of a more serious condition such as Meningitis or a Stroke, and should be assessed by a doctor as soon as possible.


    Cervicogenic Headaches

    If you have a headache that is only affecting one side of your head,
    you may be experiencing a cervicogenic headache. This type of
    headache may be accompanied by pain in the neck. The pain is caused
    by the bony and the soft-tissue structures (muscle/tendon/ligament)
    of the neck. Thankfully both osteopathy and acupuncture can help with
    this type of headache.

    How to tell if you have a Cervicogenic Headache

    You experience:

  • Pain when moving the neck
  • Shoulders and neck area which is tender to the touch
  • A changed posture in your neck
  • One-sided headache, often accompanied by neck pain

    cervicogenic headache


    Tension Headaches

    Headaches vary in intensity and type. For instance a tension
    headache may be annoying but the individual would still be able
    to go to work, whereas a full-blown migraine could be classed
    as completely debilitating for the unfortunate sufferer. In
    order to rule out any acute or more serious medical reasons for
    a headache it’s always a good idea to visit a GP first.

    Depending on the cause of your tension headache, osteopathy and
    acupuncture can help. Tension headaches can be caused by increased
    stress levels, poor posture, dehydration and eye strain, among many
    other things.


    How to tell if you’re suffering from a tension headache

    You experience:

  • In the case of a tension headache it feels like a clamp across the top of the skull or the forehead area
  • Constant ache across both side of the head, and occasionally into the neck
  • There can be pain/tension behind the eyes
  • lasting 30 minutes – several days.