Types of Headache and Physiotherapy Headache Treatments


Headaches are one of the most debilitating pains for the patients we see. It’s near impossible to ignore a pain that feels like it’s coming from within your own head!  It’s quite normal to be worried about the origins of headaches, especially for those that just won’t go away.  Headaches are one of the most common reasons for people to see a specialist. An estimated 345,800 people suffer from chronic migraines in Australia, according to Headache Australia. Physiotherapy, however, has been shown to be one of the most effective and low risk treatments for cervicogenic headaches (that’s a fancy way of saying headaches that are being caused by issues from the neck). All our physios at Erko Physio have been trained by one of the world’s best headache specialists- Dean Watson. The Dean Watson technique is scientifically proven to be incredibly effective in treating chronic migraines and headaches.

Headaches are one of the more tricky conditions we treat at Erko Physio. Knowing the difference between the different types of headaches helps in our understanding of what may help to relieve symptoms as well as prevent headaches from reoccurring. The four most common types of headache are-

  • Tension Headache
  • Cluster Headache
  • Sinus Headache
  • Migraine

Each of these headaches has a different distribution of pain, although they often overlap each other. Of the four, tension headaches are the most common, with more than 70% of all headaches being of this kind. There are many triggers that can induce tension headaches including-

  • Overuse of medication
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Excessive muscle contraction (clenching jaw)
  • Long periods of concentration (reading, driving)
  • Poor posture
  • Emotional responses and issues including depression
  • Exhaustion and physical fatigue

Physiotherapy can certainly help manage the symptoms of a headache. Treatment aims to address position changes and stiffness in the upper neck, thus reducing brainstem sensitivity and reducing the headache. After a thorough examination, your physio will discuss best possible treatment options, ensuring that you can progress with treatment in the safest and most effective way possible.

Manual therapy from a physio can relieve tension in the neck, shoulder and temples. By treating the base of the skull, the neck, the upper back and the shoulders, muscular tension can be relieved and headaches can subside.

Poor posture can definitely cause headaches in some cases. Postural causes of headaches can also be identified and remedied in a session with a physiotherapist who will prescribe targeted home exercises to help strengthen the stabilising muscles in your neck.

If your headache condition is thought to be more serious, a physiotherapist will refer you to a specialist. A specialist will be able to prescribe further treatment and order appropriate further investigations. It’s worth visiting your physio for a preliminary diagnosis and attempted treatment.

If you experience migraines or suffer any of the conditions listed above, contact Erko Physio today for a consultation. We have many years’ experience treating migraines and headaches.

We are located in Erskineville, Sydney, and are open six days a week. Contact us for more information or to make an appointment today.