Headache Treatment Brisbane

Our Headache Treatment Involves targeted Physiotherapy that Can Provide Instant Longlasting Pain Relief

Physiotherapy for persistent headaches offers long-term relief without having to rely on medication.

It relieves tension headaches, cervicogenic headaches, migraines and especially those related to musculoskeletal issues by using manual therapy, posture training, exercise, and stress management to reduce pain and improve neck and shoulder movement. 


Benefits of Headache Physiotherapy

  • Pain Relief: Reduces the frequency and severity of headaches.
  • Improved Mobility: Enhances the movement of the neck and shoulders.
  • Reduced Medication Use: Decreases reliance on painkillers for headache management.
  • Long-term Management: Provides strategies for ongoing headache prevention and relief.

Headaches can be treated at the source for long-term relief

If you’re suffering headaches regularly as a part of everyday life, you shouldn’t be. While headaches and migraines are a very common complaint, affecting as many as 50% of people worldwide, they can be treated at the source for long-term relief.

What Types Of Headaches Do We Treat With Physiotherapy?

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are very common in people who work a lot at a desk (either in an office or at home) or are stressed or anxious. Tension-type headaches can feel like a vice on the head, or there may be a feeling of tension in the forehead, pain in the base of the skull, or pain through the whole skull. Sometimes, there can also be some visual disturbances, which can be quite distressing to the person with the headache.

The joint in the spine that seems to be responsible is the first joint in the neck, where it attaches to the skull. When this joint is stiff or tight, it sensitises the system, which then causes the tension headache. 

When you have a tension headache, you may be unable to nod or turn your head properly. The dysfunction that occurs causes the muscles around the joint to tighten up and then weaken. As these muscles are not working properly, the pain is then felt like a compression-type pain. When both joints are affected, there is often pain in the back of the head. Sometimes, only one joint is affected, and then you may have some unilateral signs.


Migraines typically occur on one side of the head, starting as a dull ache before becoming a throbbing pain. They often last up to 3 days and can be preceded by an aura.

Symptoms usually include sensitivity to light and noise, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and lack of appetite. Due to their length and related symptoms, migraines can be very intense.

Sometimes, this pain can move from one side of the head to the other. If this happens, it is likely that the neck is the issue.

This is good because treatment and manual therapy can help to reduce the symptoms. If your headache is only ever on one side, then there may be just the one joint on that side that is the problem. 

There can also be some instability in the top of the neck when the ligaments in that part of the neck are damaged, sometimes from a whiplash-type injury.

Temporo Mandibular Dysfunction (TMJ, Jaw Pain)

Temporomandibular dysfunction, often called TMJ, refers to issues with the temporomandibular joint, which is the jaw joint. Problems with this joint can result in aching facial pain or pain in and around the ear, which can mimic the feeling of a headache. Sometimes, this jaw dysfunction can also involve the upper neck.

Therefore, it’s important to see a jaw physiotherapist and have them assess the jaw, neck, and upper back.

In our clinic, many patients have experienced relief from BPPV symptoms after only two treatments. In the few days following treatment, patients must take good care of themselves to ensure the little ear rocks do not return to the canal where they were stuck.

Vestibular Headache (migrainous vertigo)

A vestibular headache, or migrainous vertigo, often involves dizziness and vertigo-like symptoms and can even be a symptom of vertigo itself. A difference between the tightness in the neck muscles on either side of the spine can cause these. The brain then thinks something is wrong, so the vestibular system says that you are off balance and, therefore, feel dizzy. 

Physiotherapy for vertigo on the neck or cervical spine joints and muscles to improve symmetry and balance can help reduce these symptoms.

Occipital Neuralgia

Occipital Neuralgia is the term for when there is shooting pain up into the back of the head. It’s caused when the nerves that run from the top of the spine to the scalp are inflamed. These are often confused with migraines, as the symptoms can be similar.

The pain is like electric shocks or jabbing in the neck and head. Other symptoms can include pain behind the eye, sensitivity to light, or pain in the neck.

    Trigeminal Neuralgia

    Trigeminal Neuralgia is a chronic condition affecting the trigeminal nerve. It’s a sensitivity condition in which stimulating the nerve can cause pain. It’s characterised by electric shock-type pain up the side and across the face. 

    This pain can be triggered by various everyday actions, such as chewing, shaving, brushing teeth, or even talking. Some people who have this condition may even go for extended periods of time without any pain at all.

      Abdominal Migraine

      Abdominal Migraines are seen most often in children, commonly between the ages of 5-9 years old. The most common symptom is a dull ache in the stomach behind the belly button area. It can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. 

      These pains can be linked to adults in the family who also experience head migraines, and often, as children with abdominal migraines get older, these symptoms will disappear and develop into migraine headaches.

        Cyclic Vomiting

        Cyclic vomiting occurs with gastro-type symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhoea. The stress on your body of vomiting often and repeatedly can then cause headaches and neck pain.

        Both cyclic vomiting and abdominal migraines can have connections to the neck. If migraine treatment medicine prescribed by your doctor helps the symptoms in these cases, then manual physiotherapy to the neck may also help.

          Hemiplegic Migraines

          Hemiplegic Migraines are a variant of migraine that can appear like a stroke, so it is very important to have a stroke ruled out by your doctor before beginning migraine treatment. As part of this migraine, you can experience a temporary weakness or paralysis on one side of your body. 

          Treating the symptoms would only be possible if all of the scans were clear. Then, some manual physiotherapy treating the neck and spine area may improve the symptoms.

            Whats Causing My Headache?


            Headaches and migraines occur when the area in the back of the head and neck becomes overly sensitive. A lot of nerves pass through this area, so when the nerves are stimulated, the brain might decide that it’s too much. This can also depend on whether your brain thinks that danger is involved.
            When you continue to have frequent headaches, the brain becomes sensitised, and the headaches can occur more frequently.

            Cervicogenic headaches originate from the neck. Chronic neck tension causes pain to refer into the back of the head.
            This often occurs due to poor sitting posture and awkward sleeping positions. Although other types of headaches do not originate from the neck, they often have tension in their neck muscles as they try to compensate for the pain. The upper levels of the neck have direct nerve referrals to the head, meaning that any dysfunction at these levels can lead to headache symptoms.

            Headaches can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

            1. Tension and Stress: Often result in tension headaches, which feel like a tight band around your head.
            2. Dehydration: Lack of sufficient water intake can lead to headaches.
            3. Poor Posture: Can cause tension in your neck and shoulders, leading to headaches.
            4. Dietary Triggers: Certain foods and drinks, such as alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods, can trigger headaches in some people.
            5. Lack of Sleep: Insufficient or poor-quality sleep can cause headaches.
            6. Eye Strain: Prolonged use of screens without breaks can lead to headaches.
            7. Medical Conditions: Such as migraines, sinus infections, or high blood pressure.
            8. Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormones, especially in women, can trigger headaches.
            9. Environmental Factors: Such as strong smells, loud noises, or bright lights.
            10. Medications: Overuse of headache medications can lead to rebound headaches.

            If headaches are frequent or severe, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

            Headache Treatments We Use

            Headache treatment usually involves soft tissue massage, blading, joint mobilisations, dry needling, stretches, strengthening exercises, postural retraining and ergonomic modifications (e.g. desk set up, pillow and mattress choice).

            Most headaches involve some neck involvement, so often treating the neck and increasing the stability and flexibility of the neck muscles will help reduce many symptoms. Desensitising these symptoms can also help.

            Treatment of these headaches starts with a physiotherapist mobilising the joint, to promote strength and stability in the muscles. Headache treatment also continues at home with a recommended exercise plan. 

            Before any starting any therapy it’s very important that all types of headaches are assessed thoroughly by a physiotherapist who has the expertise in treating this area of your spine and will design a specific treatment plan to suit your condition.

            GracevillePhysio Action 25 - Headache Treatment

            Contact Graceville Physio

            Physiotherapy is an effective treatment for headaches. Our physiotherapists perform a detailed assessment to determine the true source of your headache symptoms.

            By visiting one of the expert physiotherapists at Graceville Physio, we can get to the bottom of your pain and provide effective headache and migraine treatment.

            Contact us today to book an appointment.