Whether you suffer from chronic headaches or when you’re bogged down at work, headaches can be debilitating condition that can affect everyone now and then. Headaches are often caused by disorders of the neck or physical and emotional tension. Picture

But have you ever wondered what is causing your headache?

While there are multiple types of headaches they can commonly be divided into:

  • Cervicogenic headaches
  • Migraine or vascular headaches
  • Tension headaches

Cervicogenic Headache (Neck Headache): 

This is a secondary headache disorder meaning the headache is actually caused by a neck problem such as joint or muscular stiffness and or weakness. Dysfunction in these areas transmits pain signals to our brain which we feel as a headache.

As these headaches come from dysfunction in the neck we commonly see them after whiplash injuries such as after car accidents.

​Clinical features & symptoms

  • Unilateral – feels worse on the same side of your head
  • Associated with neck pain or stiffness
  • Worsened by neck movement or staying in the same position for a long time
  • Moderate intensity
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Tenderness at the base of the skull
  • Persists after your doctor has checked for other causes


Migraines can be a chronic disorder characterised by attacks of head pain and other symptoms. Pain is always one sided (though can change between attacks).

Current researchers believe there are multiple factors that may attribute to migraines but the three main ones are:

  • Pain causing structues in the head
  • Pain causing structures in the neck
  • Serotonin – the chemical

We know there are different types of migraines, which means treatment can vary from cases to case.
Research has shown that sufferers of common migraine (e.g. without an aura or speech disturbances) and cervicogenic headache share similar symptoms.  

​Clinical features & symptoms

  • Unilateral location
  • Pulsating quality
  • Last 4-72 hrs
  • Moderate or severe intensity
  • Aggravation by routine physical activity (e.g walking, climbing stairs)
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Photophobia/phonophobia – light and or noise sensitivity
  • ​Development of an aura, or disturbance of your vision. 
  • * Further symptoms may occur with migraine but are less common

Tension headache

Tension headaches are a very common type of headache and are only considered to be problem if they become frequent. Physiotherapy or massage can help to relax the muscular structures under excessive tension.

​Clinical features & symptoms

  • Bilateral location
  • Pressing or tightening feeling – non pulsating
  • Mild-moderate severity
  • Last 30min – 7days 

How can we help YOU?

Here at AD Physiotherapy we are the experts in headaches, we can successfully treat headaches and show you how to prevent the pain from recurring.

If you have a  headache or migraine and your neck has not been examined, then a thorough neck examination is recommended so we can confirm what is causing your headache and appropriately treat your neck or exclude any neck dysfunction as the cause of your headache.

After you have been assessed your physio we will start you on treatment that fixes YOUR problems.

What can treatment include?

  • Relieving stiff neck joints 
  • Treatment of unstable joints 
  • Relieving tight or overactive muscles 
  • Strengthening weak muscles 
  • Nerve dysfunction treatment 
  • Posture correction
  • Helpful advice

What results can you expect? Relief of your neck headache can be immediate!

Come in and see us soon, so we can talk about what’s causing YOUR headache!