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There are two basic categories of headaches, namely primary and secondary. Primary headaches are those headaches that are caused for no specific underlying reason. They are not the result of any specific disease. Primary headaches include migraine, cluster headaches and tension-type headaches. Secondary headaches result from another problem, which has a headache as a symptom of the underlying initial problem. Secondary headaches can result from a huge variety of problems including head and neck injuries, inflammatory processes within the body, hormonal issues, as well as more serious causes such as brain tumors.


Migraines are often described as a severe throbbing or pulsating pain in one or both sides of the head, often front of the head or behind an eye. People with migraines also has nausea, vomiting, double vision and an extreme sensitivity to light. Migraines can also be accompanied by a loss in memory, altered thinking capacity, and altered speech. Migraines can last anywhere from an hour to several days. Most migraines are severe enough that they have a feeling of extreme fatigue, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. Neck pain may or may not be present during or after a migraine headache. Women are more likely to suffer from migraines than men.

Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches are an extremely painful type of headache, this often occurs at night, generally within a couple of hours of going to sleep. Most cluster headaches are 30-90 minutes in duration but can be shorter or longer. Sufferers often describe the pain as burning and sharp pain through the eye. Cluster headaches occur on one side and they are usually located around an eye but may extend to other areas of the head and neck. Other symptoms can include redness, swelling or tearing of the affected eye and sweating of the face. Sufferers of cluster headaches often cannot sleep due the pain.

Tension type headaches

Tension-type headaches are the most common type of headache and many people experience them regularly, particularly when under stress. Tension type headaches can cause pain on both sides. The cause of tension-type headaches is due to increased tension in the muscles of the neck and face. Women are more than twice as likely to suffer from tension-type headaches as men.

How does physiotherapist treat my headache?

First we will examine the posture and alignment of your neck, shoulders, and upper back as well as check your neck and associated muscle flexibility and strength. Our physiotherapist will feel your neck to determine if the joints in your neck are stiff or loose and to determine which areas around your neck, shoulders, face and scalp are tender or painful. Then we will teach you a correct posture to stand and sit and ensure you are aware of the posturing positions that may contribute to your headache pain or related symptoms. In some cases modalities such as ice, heat, ultrasound, chiropractic adjustment, traction may be used to ease your headache pain or other related symptoms. Tape or strapping may also be used to relieve tension on muscles that may be tight.

Tips for headache

Tips 1 : Relaxation exercise for headache

If your breathing is short and hurried, slow it down by taking long, slow breaths. Inhale slowly then exhale slowly. Count slowly to five as you inhale, and then count slowly to five as you exhale. As you exhale slowly, pay attention to how your body naturally relaxes. Recognizing this change will help you to relax even more.

Tip 2: Balance diet

Eat regular meal, avoiding food like wine and cheese that trigger headache. Stay hydrated also help to reduce frequency of headache.

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