Migraines and Headaches

Mar 7, 2011Common Conditions, Health Tips, Prevention, Treatments

Migraines And Headaches

Headaches and migraines are debilitating events that affect a large proportion of the population. Over time there have been many theories presented as to why headaches and migraines occur. There has been plenty of research carried out from various professions – and most treatments are either pharmaceutical or a combination of relaxation, hydration, and rest. When sufferers visit their doctor for tests, very rarely is a cause to the headache or migraine found. But do not despair! There is almost always a cause and a cure.

New research into migraines and their causes has shown that recurring headaches and migraines (where all other scans and tests are clear) are, in about 95% of cases, caused by what is known as a sensitised trigemino-cervical nucleus.

The trigemino-cervical nucleus is a control centre in your brain that receives information from the following sources:

  • Neck, Head, Face, Jaw
  • Blood Vessels in the brain
  • Serotonin (a chemical that regulates the body’s response to stress, food, hormones)
  • A system called the DNIC (a system that controls pain eg: if you bang your hand with a hammer, all of a sudden your migraine isn’t as bad)

All four of the above information sources normally work together to keep the nucleus functioning normally and symptom-free.

Commonly people state that their migraine/headache is triggered by any or all of the following:

  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Stress
  • Prolonged Sitting at a computer
  • Showering/Bathing
  • Chocolate
  • Cheese
  • Wine
  • Hunger
  • Dehydration

However the question that needs to be asked is this – why is it that some people get migraines from stress, chocolates or hormone changes, but not others? Not every woman gets migraines once a month, nor does every person who is stressed get a migraine…

The answer lies within that trigemino-cervical nucleus, as mentioned previously. It is now thought that it is how sensitive to change this nucleus is in any of those factors that causes migraines to happen.

Imagine your left hand is sunburnt and your right hand isn’t. Now imagine pouring warm water onto your left hand and then onto the right. Your left hand will sting because that skin is sensitive to heat, but your right hand will not, because the skin isn’t sensitised.

In the same way, a migraine sufferer’s nucleus is sensitive to a change in its environment whether it be from the neck, the serotonin levels, or brain blood pressure. But to a non-sufferer, the brain is able to cope with the change comfortably. That is the difference.

The aim of physiotherapy is to desensitise this nucleus, thus reducing and resolving the migraines and headaches.

Specific physiotherapy techniques dealing with the upper cervical (neck) joints and musculature can desensitise this nucleus and relieve migraines and headaches.

The techniques are very gentle and use mild sustained pressure to the neck in order to diagnose and treat migraines. There is no “cracking” of the neck, and you are in total control of your treatment. Alpha Physiotherapy owner, Scott Hewett, has many years experience in using these techniques to treat headaches and migraines with a 90% success rate.

If you or somebody you know suffers from or has been diagnosed with any of the following, then you need to call Alpha Physio.

  • Migraine
  • Migraine with Aura
  • Tension Headaches
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia
  • Cluster Headaches
  • Headache or migraine associated with runny nose, teary eyes, blocked ears, or sinus pain
  • Other undiagnosed face, head, ear, neck or jaw pains

We are more than happy to answer any of your questions in relation to your specific problem. In 90% of cases we can reproduce and relieve your symptoms in the first consultation.

The physiotherapists at Alpha Physio will perform a full and thorough examination to understand your migraine or headaches, assess your neck joints and muscles, and make an accurate diagnosis. We will also explain to you how and why your migraines happen, and provide you with a plan by which you can say goodbye to your headaches and migraines – for good.

We also pride ourselves on our ethical practice, so if we can’t help you, we will tell you immediately and make further recommendations to you.

Many thanks to Dean Watson from the Watson Headache Institute for the information contained in this article which was used with full permission. 

If you have any further questions, or are suffering from any kind of headaches or migraines, please feel free to contact Scott Hewett at Alpha Physiotherapy and book an appointment on (07) 3279 3871.


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