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A vascular headache is typically termed a ‘migraine’.  

A history of 5 or more similar headaches is necessary to be diagnosed as a migraine sufferer.

Signs & Symptoms

A migraine headache is one that:

  • has a sudden onset

  • causes inability to carry on with normal activities of daily living

  • will be one sided

  • has a throbbing nature

  • causes nausea

  • causes visual disturbances (loss peripheral vision, flashing) onset 20 min before headache

  • causes vertigo

  • has a duration of hours

  • can be aggravated by climbing stairs

  • can be eased with migraine medication

  • can be eased with vomiting

What Causes It?

  • Triggers such as sensitivity to light, smells, foods, noise

  • Possible family history

  • Medication (endocrine – oral contraceptive, HRT, or vasodilators)

  • Stress

  • Tiredness

How to Self Manage

  • Medication (eg sumatriptan or aspirin)

  • Lie in dark room

  • Identify triggers and avoid them


  • Likely to be an ongoing issue

  • Trigger identification is important

  • Patients generally become good at sensing the onset and manage their condition appropriately (often with medication).

How Physio Helps

  • Joint mobilisation or manipulation

  • Massage

  • Muscle and neural stretches

  • Acupuncture or dry needling

  • Pilates exercises and deep cervical flexor education

  • Ergonomic advice (e.g. - workstation setup; correct pillow height)Joint mobilisation or manipulation

  • Posture awareness and advice

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