Injuries Unpacked #2: Headaches

In the second of our Injuries Unpacked series, we’re taking a look at an issue most of us will have experienced in our lives: the humble headache.

Common types of Headaches and how they are caused

There are many different types of headaches that an individual can experience. Two types of recurring headaches that are common are neck related headaches and migraines. Many people don’t know that their neck pain can be related to (and causing) their headaches. How this occurs is pain receptors from the neck meet in the same area in the brain as pain receptors from the head region. When we feel pain in our necks, sometimes this pain is misinterpreted as coming from the head and our brain tells us we have a headache as well. The causes of migraines on the other hand are not very well known and can vary widely from person to person, taking in to account environmental and genetic factors.

Difference in symptoms of neck related headaches and migraines

If you are unsure what type of headache you may be experiencing, the symptoms are quite different between neck related headaches and migraines.

Neck related headaches

  • Gradual onset of headache usually associated with neck pain
  • Headache intensity is more mild and is a dull diffuse pain
  • No feeling of nausea or sensitivity to light and sound
  • Headache can be brought on by certain neck movements


  • Headache without neck pain
  • Headache is usually intense and builds up over several hours to become sharp and throbbing
  • Feeling of nausea or sensitivity to light and sound
  • Headache brought on for no other particular reason

How will a physio diagnose what type of headache I have?

If you are unsure of what type of headache you are experiencing or not sure who to get help from, a physiotherapist is a good place to start. A physiotherapist can help diagnose what type of headache you have through questions about the history of your headache combined with a thorough physical examination.

How will my headache be treated?

Once diagnosis of the type of headache has been made, the physiotherapist will know what is causing your headaches and tailor your treatments accordingly. If they feel that you may have a migraine type headache the physiotherapist may refer you to a doctor for further help.

Experiencing headaches? Get in touch with the clinic today, to book in with one of our experienced physiotherapists.