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A headache is extremely common and is characterised by varying pain and discomfort in the head or neck. Physiotherapy is a valuable method that can reduce symptoms associated with headache pain.

mobilisations of the head, neck and jaw to relieve pain and tensionAbove: mobilisations of the head, neck and jaw to relieve pain and tension

What is a headache?

A headache presents as varying pain around the head and neck region and is a problem that almost everyone experiences at some point in their life. The most commonly experienced headache is the primary headache. Primary headaches are not caused by an underlying condition. They can be a result of stress, squinting, poor posture, certain foods, fatigue, menstrual periods and noise. Primary headaches can be either tension type headaches, cluster headaches or migraines.
  • Tension type headaches are characterised by pain on both sides, the pain is of a pressing or tightening nature and there may be some sensitivity to light and noise.
  • Cluster headaches are less common and are indicated by attacks of severe pain on one side. Cluster headaches are likely to occur daily and eye watering, red eyes and sinus pain may be experienced.
  • Migraines are associated with visual, sensory and speech disturbances. Visual disturbances include double vision, flickering lights, spots and blind spots. Migraines can also be characterised by nausea and general severe pain and discomfort in the head and neck.
Physiotherapy uses a variety of treatment methods and activities that will help minimise symptoms, increase energy levels and improve everyday functions that may have been affected by primary headaches.

Soft tissue massage and mobilisations of the Cervical spine to lower tension and pain symptomsAbove: Soft tissue massage and mobilisations of the Cervical spine to lower tension and pain symptoms

Other types of headaches include;
  • Secondary headaches – caused by underlying condition such as brain tumour or substance overuse
  • Primary cough headaches – brought on by coughing or straining
  • Primary exertional headaches – brought on by exercise
  • Hypnic headaches – dull headaches that appear when waking from sleep
  • Cervogenic headaches – caused by a disorder in the neck

What symptoms will I experience?

The symptoms that are experienced may vary significantly and depends on the type of headache that is presenting. Symptoms may include:
  • Dull pain or discomfort on one or both sides of your head and / or neck
  • Pain may be of a pressing or tightening nature
  • Pain may be throbbing
  • The headache may be frequent or irregular
  • The headache may be mild or severe
  • The headache may appear gradually or come on suddenly
  • The headache may be accompanied by;
    • visual disturbances
    • fever
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • confusion
    • weakness
    • stiffness
In some cases headaches can be severely debilitating and can have a large impact on functioning and everyday life. Headaches can result in reduced mobility, energy levels, overall fitness and general health. There are a variety of current treatment options for relieving symptoms of a headache such as painkillers, nerve stimulation and relaxation techniques. Physiotherapy has shown to be a useful method in helping reduce problems caused by headaches.

What physiotherapy treatments will I receive for Headaches?

Physiotherapy is an effective method to help relieve some of the symptoms you are experiencing as a result of headaches. Your specialist physiotherapist will begin by carrying out a comprehensive assessment that will identify the type of headache you are experiencing and its cause. Your physiotherapist will aim to recreate the pain in order to identify the exact cause of your headaches. An accurate diagnosis will allow your physiotherapist to develop an appropriate treatment plan that will directly improve the problems you are experiencing.

Physiotherapy with uses a variety of treatments and activities to improve your physical abilities, functioning and everyday performance. The main aim of your physiotherapy programme is to improve your quality of life by maintaining physical activity and mobility whilst also reducing any pain and impairments. The Specialist Physiotherapists at will also aim to promote your energy levels, fitness and general wellbeing. Physiotherapy treatments include; The success of your physiotherapy programme with will depend on your commitment and adherence to the treatment and advice provided.


A headache is extremely common and is characterised by varying pain and discomfort in the head or neck. Primary headaches can be caused by a number of factors including stress, poor light, squinting, poor posture or certain foods. The main symptoms of a headache include pain on one or both sides of the head and neck. The pain can be a dull ache or a sharp throbbing. Symptoms associated with headaches also include vomiting, dizziness, visual problems, weakness and muscle pain. There are a variety of treatment options for headaches. Physiotherapy is an effective method to help reduce symptoms associated with headaches. Specialist physiotherapists at will carry out a comprehensive assessment to determine an appropriate treatment plan. Your physiotherapy programme will aim to control pain, improve energy levels, maintain physical activity and improve everyday functioning. Call now on 0330 088 7800 for more information or to book an appointment please contact us. You can also make a booking online today!

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