Headaches and Migraines

A pain in the head…

Do you suffer from recurrent headaches or migraines?

You’re not alone, as more than 6 million Australians can empathise as headache and migraine sufferers. 60% of people with tension-type headaches have a reduced capacity for work, social interactions and activities.

A migraine is a distressing, disabling and often stigmatised neurological disorder. Migraine attacks can vary greatly in frequency and intensity. Symptoms of migraine include moderate to severe pain (often one-sided, throbbing and aggravated by movement), nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and noise. A migraine sufferer should work in close contact with their general practitioner, to help track management efficacy and to guide treatment options. With the right advice and guidance, people with migraines can do a lot to improve their quality of life.

Headaches are a milder, more commonly experienced pain by many children and adults. Almost everyone will experience a headache during their lifetime! For some they can become a frequent and disrupt daily living. Common triggers include dehydration, stress, allergies, hormonal changes and drug reactions. Headaches can also be cervicogenic in nature, meaning that they are referred from the joints in our neck. Also often referred to as a tension headache, this is where a physiotherapist can help reduce pain and improve your function in daily life.

Physiotherapy Treatment

Physiotherapy can treat muscle tension and joint stiffness that may be related to your headache pain, and potentially also  migraine pain. We will help to identify if your biomechanics and lifestyle postures are contributing to pain. We can also help to identify lifestyle triggers and give great pain management advice. If you aren’t experiencing a noticeable benefit and reduction in pain, we will work with your doctor to explore other potential causes of your symptoms.

Treatment options may include a combination of:

  • heat
  • ultrasound
  • massage techniques
  • dry needling
  • instrument assisted soft tissue mobilisation
  • joint mobilisation
  • stretches & / or exercise prescription
  • pain management strategies
  • lifestyle modification
  • ergonomic advice

Dietetics Treatment

Particular food items can trigger headache and migraine pain. Therefore a Dietitian can be very helpful with headache/migraine management, identifying exact triggers and safe amounts or alternate options.

Common, well-recognised dietary triggers include:

  • missed, delayed or inadequate meals
  • caffeine (coffee and tea) withdrawal
  • certain wines, beers and spirits
  • chocolate, citrus fruits, aged cheeses and cultured products (chocolate and other sugar cravings may be early migraine signs not triggers)
  • monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • dehydration

Studies show that 50% of migraine sufferers have not been formerly diagnosed. If this is you, please speak with your GP about the nature of your symptoms and treatment options available. If you think having Physiotherapy or Dietetic input in managing your headache/migraine pain would be beneficial, contact us here to book with one of our health professionals, no referral is required. Let us help you feel great again!



Headache Australia – a division of Brain Foundation. Extensive information about different headache and migraine types, treatment options, join the National Headache Register and participate in research.