Headaches or Migraine

Headaches or Migraine

Types of Headache

What is the Cause of Your Headache or Migraine?

As a headache or migraine sufferer, you’ll know how disruptive and inconvenient a severe headache or migraine attack can be. Not only does a relentless headache or pulsing migraine impact on you, but also your immediate family and friends. With over 300 potential cause of your headache, an accurate diagnosis is essential to guide the correct investigations, treatment and management of your headache disorder.

Head pain can have many causes, not just a migraine. Correctly identifying the cause will lead to better treatment. I will explain some of the differentiating diagnostic criteria later in this article, but let’s prioritise the small group of headache sufferers who do a have a significant reason to seek prompt medical attention and further investigations of their headache source.

When Should You Be Concerned about a Headache?

In a small percentage of patients, there is, unfortunately, a sinister cause of your head pain, which require investigation. We call these Red Flags because they can be vital and essential signs of more sinister underlying conditions such as brain tumours, aneurysm, stroke, meningitis and other systemic illnesses. If you experience any of the following symptoms, please seek the urgent advice of your healthcare professional.

You MUST thoroughly investigate any Red Flags!

Please check with your doctor to investigate further if your headaches have any of the following characteristics. Your headache is:

  • History your worst ever headache or a different headache to your usual.
  • Exertion triggers your headache (e.g. exercise, cough, sneeze or sex).
  • Age is higher than 50 years.
  • Despite treatment, your headache persists.
  • Acute onset.
  • Central nervous system findings, e.g. motor weakness, memory loss, slurred speech.
  • HIV or another immune system compromise
  • fEver or other systemic symptoms, e.g. weight loss, rash.

If you have any of the above HEADACHE Red Flags symptoms, we strongly recommend that you consult your doctor immediately.

Less Urgent & Severe Headache Types

Fortunately, the vast majority of headaches do not require urgent medical investigation and should respond positively to treatment depending upon an accurate diagnosis.

What is Causing Your Headache or Migraine?

Historically the diagnosis of headaches and migraine was based on whether or not your head pain involved pulsatile “throbbing” or not. Any headache that was “throbbing” would affect the blood vessels within the head was thought to be a ” migraine“. Any headache that was “not throbbing” was labelled a “tension-type headache“, despite there being no evidence of increased tension in the muscles of the scalp or forehead.

Headache & Migraine Research

Researchers have luckily improved our knowledge of headache sources. Things have changed and will continue to evolve as researchers and healthcare experts grow their diagnostic criteria and categorisation. As we currently stand, there are over 300 causes of headaches and migraine. That’s a lot more than the two first options! The numerous potential reasons can make it very confusing to diagnose and treat.

Of the over 300 causes of headache and migraine, the majority of problems are migrainetension-type headache or neck headache. These are the most common headache causes, and interestingly, they can also co-exist.

Specific information

Neck & Jaw Headache

At PhysioWorks, we have a particular interest in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of a migraine and headache disorders. In particular, we focus on the diagnosis and treatment of a neck headache and jaw headache. Your headache physiotherapist will be able to assist your headache or migraine diagnosis and point you in the appropriate health practitioner if required.

Specific information

Headaches & Migraine FAQs

What is a Primary or Secondary Headache?

The International Headache Society classifies headaches as Primary or Secondary. Primary headaches are not related to any other problem and include migrainestension-type headaches and cluster headaches. Secondary headaches. Caused by an underlying problem, and can include a post-whiplash headacheneck headache, jaw headache and drug withdrawal headache. “Ice cream headache”, for example, is a secondary headache caused by extreme cold within your mouth. In other words, a secondary headache is a symptom of something else being wrong rather than the cause itself. Treatment for a secondary headache involves treating the source, e.g. loosen some stiff upper neck joints or stop eating ice cream!

Multi-Source Headache

Migraine It is also important to point out that many headache sufferers may suffer multi-source headaches. For example, a migraine sufferer may simultaneously experience a tension-type headache and neck headache. Treatment will vary depending upon your specific symptoms and headache source. Please consult with your healthcare practitioner for an accurate diagnosis and treatment pathway.

When Should You Be Concerned about a Headache?

headache In a small percentage of patients, there is, unfortunately, a sinister cause of your head pain, which require investigation. We call these Red Flags because they can be vital and essential signs of more sinister underlying conditions such as brain tumours, aneurysm, stroke, meningitis and other systemic illnesses. If you experience any of the following symptoms, please seek the urgent advice of your healthcare professional.

You MUST thoroughly investigate any Red Flags!

headache red flags Please check with your doctor to investigate further if your headaches have any of the following characteristics. Your headache is:
  • History your worst ever headache or a different headache to your usual.
  • Exertion triggers your headache (e.g. exercise, cough, sneeze or sex).
  • Age is higher than 50 years.
  • Despite treatment, your headache persists.
  • Acute onset.
  • Central nervous system findings, e.g. motor weakness, memory loss, slurred speech.
  • HIV or another immune system compromise
  • fEver or other systemic symptoms, e.g. weight loss, rash.
If you have any of the above HEADACHE Red Flags symptoms, we strongly recommend that you consult your doctor immediately.

Less Urgent & Severe Headache Types

Fortunately, the vast majority of headaches do not require urgent medical investigation and should respond positively to treatment depending upon an accurate diagnosis. For specific advice, please consult your doctor or headache physiotherapist.

Suffering a Headache or Migraine?

If you are suffering a headache or migraine, it is appropriate that your first step is to consult your doctor. Your doctor will examine you and then determine if a neurological opinion is required and whether a CT or MRI scan of your head is necessary. Occasionally, scans can identify significant but luckily uncommon headache sources such as an aneurysm or tumour. In the vast majority of cases, your scans will be reasonable.

If Your Scan is Normal?

Firstly, you should feel relieved. Scans will rule out the more sinister causes of headache or migraine.

Discovering Your Headache Source?

headache treatmednt We recommend that you should then commence a process of elimination, starting with the most commonly diagnosed and easily fixed sources. Two familiar sources of headache that can undertake an assessment and elimination are neck headache and jaw headache. A thorough examination of your neck by a skilled headache physiotherapist is your next port of call. Researchers believe that at least one in four headaches are neck origin and less than that are jaw headache. You'll have over a 25% chance that your physiotherapist will confirm and then relieve your headache at your first consultation.

What is Physiotherapy Treatment?

Physiotherapists help people affected by illness, injury or disability through exercise, manual joint therapy, soft tissue techniques education and advice.  Physiotherapists maintain physical health, help patients to manage pain and prevent disease for people of all ages. Physiotherapists help to encourage pain-relief, injury recovery, enabling people to stay playing a sport, working or performing activities of daily living while assisting them to remain functionally independent.

There is a multitude of different physiotherapy treatment approaches.

Acute & Sub-Acute Injury Management

Hands-On Physiotherapy Techniques

physiotherapy treatment

Your physiotherapist's training includes hands-on physiotherapy techniques such as:

Your physiotherapist has skilled training. Physiotherapy techniques have expanded over the past few decades. They have researched, upskilled and educated themselves in a spectrum of allied health skills. These skills include techniques shared with other healthcare practitioners. Professions include exercise physiologists, remedial massage therapists, osteopaths, acupuncturists, kinesiologists, chiropractors and occupational therapists, just to name a few.

Physiotherapy Taping

Your physiotherapist is a highly skilled professional who utilises strapping and taping techniques to prevent and assist injuries or pain relief and function.

Alternatively, your physiotherapist may recommend a supportive brace.

Acupuncture and Dry Needling

Many physiotherapists have acquired additional training in the field of acupuncture and dry needling to assist pain relief and muscle function.

Physiotherapy Exercises

Physiotherapists have been trained in the use of exercise therapy to strengthen your muscles and improve your function. Physiotherapy exercises use evidence-based protocols where possible as an effective way that you can solve or prevent pain and injury. Your physiotherapist is highly-skilled in the prescription of the "best exercises" for you and the most appropriate "exercise dose" for you depending on your rehabilitation status. Your physiotherapist will incorporate essential components of pilates, yoga and exercise physiology to provide you with the best result. They may even use Real-Time Ultrasound Physiotherapy so that you can watch your muscles contract on a screen as you correctly retrain them.

Biomechanical Analysis

Biomechanical assessment, observation and diagnostic skills are paramount to the best treatment. Your physiotherapist is a highly skilled health professional. They possess superb diagnostic skills to detect and ultimately avoid musculoskeletal and sports injuries. Poor technique or posture is one of the most common sources of a repeat injury.

Hydrotherapy

Aquatic water exercises are an effective method to provide low bodyweight exercises.

Sports Physiotherapy

Sports physio requires an extra level of knowledge and physiotherapy skill to assist injury recovery, prevent injury and improve performance. For the best advice, consult a Sports Physiotherapist.

Vestibular Physiotherapy

Women's Health

Women's Health Physiotherapy is a particular interest group of therapies.

Workplace Physiotherapy

Not only can your physiotherapist assist you in sport, but they can also help you at work. Ergonomics looks at the best postures and workstation set up for your body at work or home. Whether it be lifting technique improvement, education programs or workstation setups, your physiotherapist can help you.

Electrotherapy

Plus Much More

Your physiotherapist is a highly skilled body mechanic. A physiotherapist has particular interests in certain injuries or specific conditions. For advice regarding your individual problem, please contact your PhysioWorks team.

Why Patients Choose PhysioWorks for their Healthcare

You'll be impressed with the experienced physiotherapists, massage therapists and reception staff who represent PhysioWorks.  To ensure that we remain highly qualified, we are committed to continue education. If you've been searching for therapists with a serious interest in your rehabilitation or injury prevention program, our staff have either participated or are still participating in competitive sports at elite and representative levels. We also currently provide physiotherapy and massage services for numerous sports clubs. Our experience assists us to understand what you need to do to safely and quickly return to the sporting field, home duties or your employment. PhysioWorks is an undergraduate clinical placement facility for training the next generation of physiotherapists. Each year we handpick the cream of the crop, add them to our team and fast track their post-graduate education process to ensure that they become experienced physiotherapists well before their peers.

How You'll Benefit from the PhysioWorks Difference?

At PhysioWorks physiotherapy and massage clinics, we strive to offer our clients quick, effective and long lasting results by providing high-quality treatment. Our aim is not only to get you better quicker, but also to create a friendly and caring environment conducive to successful healing.  With many years of clinical experience, our friendly service and quality treatment is a benchmark not only in Brisbane but Australia-wide.

What are some of the BIG differences?

  • Our therapists pride themselves on keeping up to date with the latest research and treatment skills to ensure that they are providing you with the most advantageous treatment methods. They are constantly updating their knowledge via seminars, conferences, workshops, scientific journals etc.
  • Not only will you receive a detailed consultation, but we offer long-term solutions, not just quick fixes that in reality, only last for a short time.
  • We attempt to treat the cause, not just the symptoms.
  • PhysioWorks clinics are modern thinking. Not only in their appearance but in the equipment we use and in our therapists' knowledge.
  • Our staff actually care about you!  We are always willing to go that 'extra mile' to guarantee that we cater to our clients' special needs.
All in all, we feel that your chances of the correct diagnosis, the most effective treatment and the best outcomes are all better at PhysioWorks.

What are the Benefits of Good Posture?

good-posture-sitting

Good Posture:

  • Keeps your bones and joints in the correct alignment.
  • Helps to decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces.
  • Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
  • Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
  • Prevents muscle fatigue.
  • Prevents any backache and muscular pain.
  • Contributes to a competent and confident appearance.

To Achieve Good Posture You Will Require the Following:

  • Good muscle flexibility
  • Normal motion in the joints
  • Strong postural muscles
  • A balance of muscles on both sides of the spine
  • Awareness of your posture, plus knowledge of proper postural position, which leads to conscious correction.
Practise the correct posture for standing, sitting, and lying down (as described below) to gradually replace your old position.

Article by John Miller

What is the Best Way to Sleep?

Your Best Sleeping Position?

best sleeping position
Everybody has their favourite sleeping position. However, some are better for you than others. Try to sleep in a posture that helps you maintain the curve in your lower back. We recommend lying on your back with a pillow under your knees (if more comfortable) or on your side with your knees slightly bent.

It is preferable to not sleep on your side with your knees drawn up to your chest (the foetal position). However, having said that some back conditions will find this preferable. You should seek the advice of your physiotherapist if you are in doubt.

If you are suffering back pain, you could try lying over a lumbar roll or peanut cushion at night to make you more comfortable. A rolled sheet or towel tied around your waist may also be helpful. You may wish to avoid sleeping on your stomach, especially on a saggy mattress. This sag can cause back strain and can be uncomfortable for your neck.

What is Your Best Mattress?

Select a firm mattress or an ensemble that does not sag. If necessary, place a board under your bed's mattress. You can also set the mattress on the floor temporarily if needed. If you've always slept on a soft surface, it may be initially painful to change to a harder surface. Try to do what's most comfortable for you.

How to Rise from Bed

When standing up from the lying position, turn on your side, draw up both knees and swing your legs over the side of the bed. Sit up by pushing yourself up with your hands. Bend forward at your waist with your core muscles activated.

What is Your Best Pillow?

The human neck curves slightly forward (to sustain the weight of the head when upright), and it is crucial to maintain this curve when in a resting position. If the height of the pillow is too high or low when sleeping, your neck is bent abnormally out of alignment, causing muscle and joint strain. You can even wake with headaches.

Poor pillow support can also cause narrowing of the air pipe, resulting in obstructed breathing, and sometimes snoring, which can hinder sleep.

The best lying or sleeping position may vary, depending on your symptoms. No matter what posture you lie in, the pillow should be under your head, but not your shoulders, and should be a thickness that allows your head to be in a normal position.

To give your body the proper rest it needs, and to ensure the health of your spine, physiotherapists recommend only two sleeping positions: Side sleeping and supine sleeping.

Sleeping Tips

Sleeping on your side, with the spine straight.  Sleeping on your back, maintaining the primary curvature of the cervical spine. Both of these positions prevent poor alignment of the neck and upper back. Proper alignment can help to reduce the number of neck aches, backaches, pinched nerves, shoulder and arm referred pain, insomnia, and mental fatigue from a lack of effective sleep.

More Info

Why Do Physiotherapists Prescribe You Exercises?

The prescription of exercise appropriate to you and your injury or fitness level is one of the many professional skills of a physiotherapist. Whether you have suffered an acute injury, chronic deconditioning or are recovering from surgery, the correct exercise prescription is essential. That's why your physiotherapist's knowledge and skills will personalise your exercise dose. Your physiotherapist not only is educated in injury diagnosis but also exercise physiology or the science of exercise. This training enables your physiotherapist to assess and diagnose your injury, plus also to prescribe injury, fitness or age-appropriate activities targeted to you now.

What Exercises Should You Do?

Your exercises shouldn't be painful. Please take caution with some overzealous exercise prescribers who believe that the more painful the activity, the better. Thus simply isn't true—notably, the frail, immunosuppressed, deconditioned or post-operative person. You'll find that your physiotherapist will thoroughly examine you and prescribe a series of exercises suitable for you in quantities that will not injure you further. Please seek an exercise expert, such as your physiotherapist, when you are planning your rehabilitation.

What Happens When You Stop Exercises?

Without some simple exercises, we know that specific muscles can become weak. When these supporting muscles are weak, your injured structures are inadequately supported and predispose you to linger symptoms or further injury. You can also over-activate adjacent muscles that may lead to further damage. It is also essential to understand that even if you are "in good shape", you may have crucial but weak localised or stability muscles. When you have an injury, you should perform specific exercises that specifically strengthen the muscles around your injury and the adjacent joints. Your physiotherapist will assess your muscle function and prescribe the right exercises specific for your needs. The exercises prescribed will usually be relatively simple, and do not require any special weights equipment, and can be performed safely at home.

Would You Stop Your Daily Prescription Drugs?

Your physiotherapist will prescribe your individualised dose or exercises. They are using their professional expertise to optimise your exercise dose. Would you just stop taking your regular blood pressure medication because you were too busy or didn't think it was working? We would hope not! Exercise, when prescribed by an expert such as your physiotherapist, should be treated as your recommended dose. Just like when you don't take your blood pressure medication, you can't expect the drugs to work of you don't take it as prescribed by your health professional. So, next time you skip your "exercise dose" just remember that you are not putting your health first. If you have any questions, please contact your Physio Works physiotherapist for your best care.
You've just added this product to the cart:

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!