Our blogs this month focus on various types of Headaches including; Tension Type Headaches (TTH), Migraines, Cluster Headaches, and Cervicogenic Headaches (coming from the neck).


For more in depth detail on a specific type of headache follow the links below in the individual sections.

Tension Type Headaches

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A tension-type headache is the most common type of headache.  It's estimated that about half the adults in the UK experience tension-type headaches once or twice a month, and about 1 in 3 get them up to 15 times a month.


The pain is typically bilateral (right and left), pressing or tightening in quality, and of mild to moderate intensity, and it does not worsen with routine physical activity such as walking or climbing stairs. There is no nausea, but photophobia (light) or phonophobia (sound) may be present.

Relaxation techniques such as yoga, pilates, and massage may be able to help with stress-related headaches. As well as chiropractic treatment, we have therapists from all these disciplines who work within TWC.  See our website for more details:
For therapists:

Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) state that a course of up to 10 sessions of acupuncture, over a 5-8 week period, may be beneficial in preventing chronic tension-type headaches.  

You may not be aware that Andrea, our Chiropractor, is also qualified to provide medical acupuncture (sometimes called dry needling). For more information give us a call or visit her information page:


Cervicogenic Headaches

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One of the most common types of headache that Chiropractors see is called 'cervicogenic headache'. These are caused by referred pain from the ligaments and joints of the neck, when these structures are inflamed often a headache will result. It is very similar to another type of headache that can be generated by muscle trigger points. The neck has a number of nerves that travel over the skull and if these nerves are irritated they will refer pain to various locations. Pain may radiate to the forehead (frontal region), the eyes (orbital region), the temple and the ears.


Signs of cervicogenic headache are:

  • Pain around neck or base of the skull, may project to other areas of the head
  • Pain aggravated by specific neck movements
  • Restricted neck movement
  • Tenderness of neck muscles
  • Abnormal posture

Chiropractic treatment for cervicogenic headaches is very similar to that of tension type headaches. They can be tough to manage as many of the factors that cause the headaches in the first place are external i.e. posture or sleeping position. Treatment can involve:

  • Soft tissue massage
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Acupuncture/dry needling
  • Spinal manipulation/mobilisation
  • Home exercises/stretches
  • Ergonomic and postural advice

Other treatments that might help with headaches available at TWC:

  • Hypnotherapy for stress management and help reduce tension
  • Deep tissue massage to help release trigger points
  • Diet advice for food intolerances/allergies i.e. gluten or dairy

Migraine - More than “just a headache”

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"Migraine is an inherited tendency to have headaches with sensory disturbance. It is instability in the way the brain deals with incoming sensory information and that instability can become influenced by physiological changes like sleep, exercise and hunger."


Professor Peter Goadsby, Professor of Neurology, King’s College London; Director, NIHR-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, King’s College Hospital London; Trustee of The Migraine Trust.


What is migraine?

Migraine attacks can be very frightening, and symptoms vary from person to person, individuals can even have different symptoms during different attacks.  Attacks can differ in length and frequency, but they usually last between 4 to 72 hours, and most people are free from symptoms in between episodes.


For many people the main feature is often a one sided painful headache. Other symptoms include but are not limited to: Disturbed vision, sensitivity to light, sound and smells, or feeling sick and vomiting. 


What is the treatment?

The complex nature of migraine means that the treatments available are varied and differ from person to person. There is currently no cure for migraine, and medication may depend on the triggers.


Chiropractic treatment for migraine is also varied but a trial treatment of 3-4 sessions will give you a good indicator of how effective management will be. A lot of our patients have found their migraines become less frequent and less severe with treatment when neck muscle or joint tension and restriction is a contributing trigger. 


Cluster Headaches

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They are a rare type of headache that affects about 1 to 2 people in every 1,000. Onset is normally between 20-40 years of age, and they are 3-4 times more common in men than women. 


What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of cluster headache are characterised by unilateral (one sided) pain, although the affected side may vary each cluster period. The pain is usually centred over one eye, temple or forehead, and can even be a combination of all or spread to other regions making diagnosis difficult. They usually last 15-180 minutes, and can occur from once every other day up to 8 times a day. Pain is often characterised as excruciating!


Information cited from, and for more information on Headaches visit:



As with any new symptoms it is always important to visit your GP or chiropractor to rule out any other disorders before reaching a diagnosis yourself.

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