Migraine & Headache

 Woman with a headache

There are many different types of headache, some more serious than others. As many as 10 billion Britons suffer from severe headaches.  In 2012, NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) released new guidelines regarding the diagnosis and management of headaches.  

NICE said that taking too many pain killers (particularly taking aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetamol every day/every other day) can make the brain more sensitive to pain, therefore leaving the sufferer prone to further headaches. These guidelines also highlight the potential benefit of acupuncture for certain types of headache.  All Chiro Health practitioners are trained in medical acupuncture including techniques used for treating headaches and for the prevention of Migraines.

As with any problem, your Chiro Health practitioner will carry out a full history and examination to identify the nature of your headaches. They are well equipped in identifying those headaches that can benefit from manual therapy and those that require onward referral.

Often headaches can have a cervicogenic component, meaning that the structures in the neck may be causing or aggravating the headache. In these cases treatment from your Chiro Health practitioner can offer relief in the frequency and intensity of your headaches.

If your headache is cervicogenic in nature or has cervicogenic components the treatment offered will aim to normalise the joint function and decrease muscle spasm in the neck. This can be achieved using a variety of treatment methods including chiropractic manipulation, medical acupuncture, soft tissue therapies (stretching, massage) and home exercises. This effective treatment is generally painless although you may feel some short-term discomfort if your neck is already sore or your headache is acute. Your Chiro Health practitioner may advise you on nutrition, posture, lifestyle and stress, information that can be very beneficial when addressing headaches.

Common Presentations

  • "I get the feeling of a tight band across my forehead"
  • "my head is pounding"
  • "my headache is worse when my neck stiffens up"


Useful Links for Headache


  • NICE - National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Guideline for the management of Low Back Pain.

  • Acupuncture - British Medical Acupuncture Society patient information regarding conditions responsive to acupuncture.

  • BCA - British Chiropractic Association explains Low Back Pain.



Effectiveness of manual therapy for chronic tension-type headache: a pragmatic, randomised, clinical trial. Castien RF, van der Windt DA, Grooten A, Dekker J. Cephalalgia. 2011 Jan;31(2):133-43. 

Dose response and efficacy of spinal manipulation for chronic cervicogenic headache: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Haas M, Spegman A, Peterson D, Aickin M & Vavrek D. The Spine Journal 2010; 10:117-128.

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