The classification of a migraine or headache is complex and involves many factors. Traditionally they can be classified in the following categories:
None of these types have conclusive proof except cervicogenic where headaches can be reproduced by cervical (neck) pressure or mobilisation.
One way of explaining what could be happening is to analyse the function of a part of the central nervous system (CNS) called the arcuate nucleus (or infundibular nucleus). This collects information from all the senses in the head – sight, sound, taste, smell and from pain and movement receptors in the neck.
The nucleus becomes sensitized in people prone to headache and overload from any one of the inputs can tip the balance as to whether a headache or migraine will or won’t occur.
BWT Physiotherapists can palpate to determine any movement restrictions (tight joints) or painful joints that reproduce the headache with specific areas of the neck being known to produce different types of headache.
The BWT physiotherapists can then tailor treatment to that specific type of headache or migraine, advise on posture and ergonomics and guide the patient into habits and patterns of movement that will help prevent overloading those joints in the neck that have been leading to episodes of headaches or migraines.
At BWT a careful history to incorporate all stimuli including life stresses, previous and current conditions such as jaw or back pain is taken. This enables us to ensure that treatment can be geared to each individual patients needs.
Acupuncture by a physiotherapist and also TENS acupuncture is often useful in treating this condition.