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Head Pain


Head pain can be classified as being one of three types: 

  • primary headache;

  • secondary headache; and

  • cranial neuralgias, facial pain, and other headaches.

A primary headache is caused by overactivity of or problems with pain-sensitive structures in your head. A primary headache isn't a symptom of an underlying disease.

Chemical activity in your brain, the nerves or blood vessels surrounding your skull, the muscles of your head and neck or, a combination of these factors can play a role in primary headaches.


A secondary headache is a symptom of a disease that can activate the pain-sensitive nerves of the head. Any number of conditions — varying greatly in severity — may cause secondary headaches.

A headache may arise spontaneously or may be associated with activity or exercise. It may have an acute onset or it may be chronic in nature with or without episodes of increasing severity.

Cranial neuralgias may present as a localized head or facial pain or coexist with other headache syndromes, such as migraine.

Other head conditions include:

  • facial palsy - this generally refers to weakness of the facial muscles, mainly resulting from temporary or permanent damage to the facial nerve. When a facial nerve is either non-functioning or missing, the muscles in the face do not receive the necessary signals in order to function properly;

  • cranial injuries - every head injury is different and every person with a head injury will be affected differently. The effects of a head injury will depend upon the severity and the location of the injury in the brain; and

  • jaw pain - can result from physical injuries, damage to the nerves or blood vessels, infections, and several other causes. Temporomandibular joint disorder is a cluster of conditions that affect the bones, joints, and muscles responsible for jaw movement.

Physiotherapy treatment techniques such as manipulation, massage, postural correction and rehabilitation exercises can help manage most conditions. We use a range of techniques to relieve pain and restore movement. We can also provide useful advice on how to prevent headaches by modifying everyday habits. 

The following headache symptoms mean you should get medical help right away: A sudden, new, severe headache that comes with: Weakness, dizziness, sudden loss of balance or falling, numbness or tingling, or can't move your body. Trouble with speech, confusion, seizures, personality changes, or inappropriate behavior.

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