Causes of Headaches and Migraines

Headaches and Migraines
Headaches and Migraines

Twenty percent of all headaches and migraines originate from neck problems; whether you are aware of them or not. This is because the first three nerves of the neck can refer pain into the head.


The most common cause of such neck pain is poor posture, usually associated with sitting at a desk and working at a computer for prolonged periods of time. The prolonged sitting with a forward head posture leads to tight muscles in the back of the neck that start to pull on the base of the neck and the shoulders causing pain in the head. Other causes can include neck injuries (whiplash) and spinal abnormalities. Research has shown that these problems can cause spinal joint stiffness, nerve irritation, muscle overuse, tightness and spasm, which all refer pain to the head and can manifest as a headache and migraine.

How does physiotherapy help headaches?

Cervicogenic headaches, as they are called, respond very well to physiotherapy. Physiotherapy treatment of the underlying neck problems and its effects can completely alleviate such headaches and neck pain. This includes postural retraining, taping, joint mobilisation, heat therapy, stretching, massage, and trigger point therapy. Physiotherapists can also provide you with postural advice and movement practices that you can use at work and home to maintain neck stability, flexibility and correct posture to prevent future episodes.

When a headache starts; change your position, do 20 reps of pain free shoulder circles and 10 reps of small neck circles.  This will increase blood flow to the area, increase the stabilising muscles to work and relieve pain. Try these simple tips to help keep the headaches away!