Migraine Headaches is a leading cause of lost work time and disability in the UK. It is more common in women at nearly 1 in 5 and 1 in 20 in men.

In the UK some 10% of people use Acupuncture to treat their migraine, whilst in Germany it is the most common form of treatment to treat migraines.

A definition of reduction of migraine headaches is a decrease of 50% based on criteria from the International Headache Society. This is in people having two to eight migraine attacks per month.

Recent studies have demonstrated that Acupuncture was associated with clinically and statistically significant improvement in clinical outcomes compared with no acupuncture.

Added to this can be the therapeutic protocol of adding Osteopathic treatment to the mix as this is a way to help loosen neck restrictions which can culminate as one of the major factors leading to headaches.

Very often pain in the trapezius on top of the shoulder can also be a big factor in causing headaches. Very often just pinching these muscles can lead to a pain referral into the head, and these points are called trigger points which can be effectively reduced as a migraine causing feature.

Certainly posture should always be looked at to try and maintain neck in an easy posture whereby strain is minimised especially looking at a computer screen.

Exercise is also very useful in helping minimise headaches and a lot of research has been done is establishing a link between exercise and headaches.

If you do suffer migraines give us a call on 020 7692 1818 or email me at lholve@camdenpractice.co.uk and ill be happy to discuss whether treatment might be of benefit.

Some References:

Diener HC, Kronfeld K, Boewing G, et al., for the GERAC Migraine Study Group. Efficacy of acupuncture for the prophylaxis of migraine: a multicentre randomised controlled clinical trial

. Lancet Neurol. 2006;5(4):310–316.

Streng A, Linde K, Hoppe A, et al. Effectiveness and tolerability of acupuncture compared with metoprolol in migraine prophylaxis. Headache. 2006;46(10):1492–1502. 11. American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. Frequently asked questions about acupuncture.

 http://www.medicalacupuncture.org/acu_info/faqs.html. Accessed February 24, 2010.

Tension headaches and migraines. What can be done?


Recurrent headaches such as tension type headaches and migraines lead to considerable impairment and days off work. It is often wondered what relation the neck has in relation to this most debilitating of conditions.

Neck pain often accompanies headaches and to be very technical this is a sign of an interaction between small nerves from the cervical spine and trigeminal nerve in what is called the trgeminocervical nucleus. This is located just outside the upper three neck (cervical) spinal segments, which means that any problems originating from cervical structures. Therefore pain originating from neck structures supplies by the upper neck nerves are perceived in areas supplied by the trigeminal nerve such as the front of the head, and the orbit

The spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve extends caudally to the outer lamina of the dorsal horn of the upper three to four cervical spinal segments. This is known as the trigeminocervical nucleus, which receives afferents from the trigeminal nerve and the upper three cervical spinal nerves. Convergence between these afferents’ accounts for the cervical-trigeminal pain referral. Therefore, pain originating from cervical structures supplied by the upper cervical spinal nerves could be perceived in areas innervated by the trigeminal nerves such as the orbit and the frontotemporoparietal region.

The main difference diagnostically between tension type of headaches from the migraine type is that ranges of neck flexion, extension and rotation are usually less in patients with tension type head than migraines, additionally there is a degree of neck tenderness with patients of tension headaches.

This helps in deciding what treatment protocols can be used to relieve your headaches.

Firstly, by palpating your neck we can identify trigger points, and use manipulative treatment to help restore mobility to your neck, additionally Acupuncture can be used to help reduce pain and muscle spasm often associated with headaches.