Causes of headaches with treatment at Naas Physio Clinic

Headaches can range from mild & infrequent to severe and disbling in nature. The severely disbaling type of headache can throw our personal and social life in complete disarray.


What Causes Headaches?

The International headache society has categorised headaches into primary and secondary headaches.

Primary Headaches are relatively mild and usually recurrent. They are the commonest variety and include migraines, sinus headache, tension headaches and cluster headaches.

Secondary headaches occur due to underlying systemic causes like hypertension, meningitis, whiplash injury, tumours, vascular disorders, brain bleeds etc.

Another increasingly recognised cause of secondary headaches include problems in the cervical spine like facet joint dysfunction, trigger points in the neck & shoulder muscles and poor posture etc. These are called as the Cervicogenic headaches. Headaches due to TMJ joint dysfunction (jaw problems) are also a common occurrence that are frequently missed.


A glimpse into the headache types


  1. Cervicogenic headaches

Cervicogenic headache are headaches manifested by pain referred to the head from the neck. Research has shown that pain from the upper
cervical facet joints (C2-C3) and neck muscles can refer pain into the head when irritated. Restricted neck range of motion, facet joint dysfunction, tight suboccipital muscles, shortened upper trapezius and levator scapulae and latent trigger points, whiplash after effect can all be causes for this referred pain.

  1. Tension headaches 

Tension headaches are the most common variety of headache. They manifest as constant pain on both sides of the head and may occur daily. The patient feels as if there is a tight band around the head. The pain may last from 30 minutes to several hours only to be relieved in certain positions. More often women between 20-40 years of age are affected. Patients complain of continuous pain in the forehead, temples, back of the head or neck and may be episodic or chronic.

Tension headaches have been linked to bad posture, increased stress, irregular meals, dehydration etc. They have also been attributed to depression and psychological issues with women being affected more than men. Over the counter medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can help relieve the headaches as do certain lifestyle changes like practicing relaxation techniques, regularising mealtimes and consuming plenty of water.


  1. Migraines

Migraines are less common than tension headaches and are usually felt as a severe, throbbing pain at the front or side of the head in around 70% of the patients. Accompanying symptoms may include nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light or sound.

Migraines are believed to be associated with inflammation and swelling of the arteries in and outside of the brain

As migraines can be very debilitating and long lasting, some people end up bedridden due to there severity. The frequency of these headaches can vary from two to four times per month to a couple of times per year. The episode may last for around four hours to almost a week. Many of the migraine patients also experience an aura a few minutes before the onset of the actual headache. The aura can include visual disturbances or hearing hallucinations.


  1. Headache due to TMJ disorder

According to a recent study of TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders, the jaw may may be a common source of recurring tension headaches. TMJ headaches are commonly undiagnosed because its symptoms may resemble sinus headache, tension headaches or migraines.

TMJ headaches affect women more than men and are most common between the ages of 20 to 50.

TMJ pain shows up like migraine headache accompanied by neck pain, which occur at the back of the head often associated with stress. The pain often radiates down into one or both shoulders.

Headaches due to TMJ disorders can be relieved by TMJ mobilisation and upper cervical joint mobilisation. Massage to the neck and facial muscles, especially the masseter muscle, can help to alleviate headaches due to facial muscle tightness in TMJ disorders. Our physiotherapists and Chiropractors are highly trained in TMJ dysfunction related headaches.


  1. Headaches after Whiplash injury

 Whiplash injury of the neck is a sudden acceleration-deceleration injury of the cervical spine following a road traffic accident. The sudden contraction of the neck muscles to protect the head and neck results in pain in the neck and shoulder region often accompanied by headaches that can last for weeks or months.

Deep neck flexor strengthening exercises, stretching and joint mobilisation techniques help to successfully alleviate these headaches. Including scapular bracing and postural correction exercises ensure that the headaches do not recur again.


What we do at Naas Physio Clinic

At Naas Physiotherapy Clinic our physiotherapy and chiropractor treatments provide excellent results of Cervicogenic, Tension, Migraine, Post whiplash, Fibromyalgia and TMJ dysfunction.

Our efforts are directed towards a thorough assessment and accurate diagnosis of the headache as proper diagnosis is vital for the success of the treatment. This includes eliminating red flag. Red flags are serious systemic causes of headaches like tumours, aneurysms, brain bleeds, uncontrolled hypertension etc.

We believe in using the right mix of available treatment techniques to come up with a treatment plan that is unique for each patient and will provide optimal results. Our highly qualified and dedicated team is well trained in the art and skill of mobilisation and manipulation – key tools to get rid of these headaches permanently.


Our approach to the headache problem

Tension and Migraine headaches may be triggered by poor neck postures, neck muscle tightness and restricted neck range of motion. Many patients are actually unaware that the discomfort in their necks could be related to their recurrent headaches.

Such patients can benefit hugely from cervical joint manipulation, trigger point release and stretching exercises of the neck muscles followed by postural correction. Acupuncture can also provide pain relief in these cases. Physiotherapists have also come across patients who have migraines due to incorrect biomechanics in the trunk and lower limb. Our specialists perform a detailed biomechanical analysis of the patient to identify and correct any biomechanical dysfunction.

Patients with Cervicogenic headache respond excellently to facet joint mobilisation, stretching and strengthening of neck and upper back muscles. Trigger point release, acupuncture, soft tissue massage and deep neck flexor strengthening also provide long lasting relief in patients with cervicogenic headache and neck pain. We also advise you on work place ergonomics which plays an important role in preventing the recurrence of pain.


Naas Physio Clinic offers a variety of treatment options

Naas Physio Clinic offers nothing but the best. We take pride in having the best qualified Physiotherapists & Chiropractors who have specialised in the treatment of headaches. We believe in continued professional development and regular practical training in the form of workshops that keeps us abreast with the latest knowledge and treatment techniques. At Naas Physio Clinic we use the best combination of approaches to provide a long term relief to our patients. We offer the following procedures:

  • Spinal Mobilisation
  • Spinal manipulation
  • Stretching
  • Strengthening
  • Facet joint mobilisation
  • Balance and Proprioceptive exercises
  • Complete Biomechanical Analysis
  • Deep soft tissue massage
  • Trigger point release therapy
  • Scapular stabilisation exercises
  • Postural correction place ergonomics
  • Deep neck flexor (core) muscle strengthening
  • Myofascial release
  • Heat/Cold/TENS/Ultrasound therapy
  • Acupuncture and Dry Needling
  • Taping and Bracing


To book an appointment at Naas Physio Clinic Naas call:
(045) 874 682

or email us at info@physioclinic.ie

For further information on conditions treated go to: