Physiotherapy Treatment for Headaches

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Are you a chronic sufferer looking for a headache treatment that can effectively help you?

Have you tried many treatments in the past with little to no lasting relief? We UNDERSTAND how frustrating it is for you. We KNOW what you are going through. The Headache and Migraine Clinic at Refine Health is a dedicated clinic that specialises in headache treatment and migraine treatment.

Physiotherapy treatment for headaches is simple and effective and long-lasting. We strive to create a comfortable environment to allow you to relax throughout our procedures.

If you are interested in finding out whether physiotherapy treatment for headaches may be suitable for you, call us on (07) 3216 1330 and organise a FREE phone consultation to speak with one of our Headache Clinicians regarding your condition and possible approaches to physio for headaches that could work for you.



At Refine Health Group, our Headache Clinicians are trained under the Watson Headache Approach to deliver a revolutionary, medication-free physio for migraines that is proven to help resolve or significantly reduce your headache and migraine pains.

Listed below are some common conditions we have treated by implementing physio for headaches:



The Queensland Migraine and Headache Centre is a clinic dedicated to physiotherapy treatment for headaches. A thorough examination of the structures involved in your headache pain is undertaken in order to identify the precise cause of your presentation.

The clinicians at The Queensland Migraine and Headache Centre are trained in the Watson Headache Treatment Approach, which aims to identify and establish the involvement of the upper three cervical segments in primary and secondary headache conditions.


A comprehensive and thorough examination is performed within the initial consultation with a Headache Clinician at The Queensland Migraine and Headache Centre.

The assessment involves a detailed subjective history-taking and objective measures to appropriately exclude the potential presence of sinister pathologies. The Manual examination consist of various test for the stability of the ligamentous structures within the upper cervical spine, and the tests for insufficiency of the arteries supplying the head and neck.

These test aim to rule out the potential secondary causes for migraine and headache symptoms, so that the structure of the upper cervical spine can be identified as the discernible contributing structure for your presentation.

The gold-standard clinical sign to determine the relevance of the upper cervical spine in you headache or migraine condition is indicated by the relative reproduction and resolution of your headache pain upon examination. This is achieved by producing sustained pressures on the upper three cervical segments to asses the sensitivity of the Brain stem, a large collection of nerves located within the neck.

At the end of the assessment, when a diagnosis has been reached, we will provide you with a clear explanation of your condition and the possible treatment options available to you. The Headache Clinician will be able to determine whether your headache or migraine condition is suitable for the Watson Headache Approach. If we find that physio for migraines or physio for headaches will be an unsuitable method of treatment, we will provide you with a suitable referral.



In the initial assessment, you can expect a thorough and comprehensive subjective examination and history-taking to determine your exact diagnosis.

At the end of this session, we will give you a clear explanation of your condition and an evidence-backed treatment program that tailored specifically to your needs to get you where you need to be. If by using this type of physiotherapy headaches and migraines continue to persist, we will provide you with a suitable referral.

At Refine Health Group, we specialise in providing effective long term physio for headaches and migraine treatment solutions, as well as physiotherapy and Pilates treatments for other body pains.

We proudly serve the inner Brisbane regions with our services as your local Bowen Hills physio and Fortitude Valley physio.

If you’re struggling to get on top of your headache pains, book in today to find relief through using physiotherapy for tension headaches, migraines and several other types of headaches.


Tension-Type Headache or TTH accounts for up to 90% of primary headaches, making it the most common headache type by far. The duration can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days and is described as a tight pressure around the head, usually across the temples and forehead. The severity can range from mild-moderate and is categorised further into 3 classifications depending on the frequency and chronicity.

Episodic presentations of headache that is either frequent or infrequent, that is bilateral (affecting both sides), and is described as a tightening pressure of band-like quality at the frontal and temporal region. Episodes can last from minutes to days and the pain is usually of a mild to moderate intensity. Unlike Migraine, Tension-Type Headache is not aggravated by exertion and is not associated with nausea and vomiting. The pain is constant and does not have a pulsating quality. Sensitivity to light and sound may present in some cases.

Sub-types that can be addressed with physiotherapy for tension headaches include:

(2a) Episodic Tension-Type Headache

(2ai) Infrequent Episodic Tension-Type Headache:

Classification of Infrequent Episodic T-TH relies on the frequency of headache occurrence to be less than 1 episode per month, with each attack lasting between 30 minutes and 7 days.

​(2aii) Frequent Episodic Tension-Type Headache:

Classification of Frequent Episodic T-TH is recognised upon headache occurrence of 10 episodes within 14 days, with each attack lasting between 30 minutes and 7 days. ​

​(2c) Chronic Tension-Type Headache: Also known as New Daily Persistent Headache

A more severe version of Frequent Episodic Tension-Type Headache, this disorder is one of the most disabling headache diseases due to its chronicity and unrelenting quality. To classify for this headache diagnosis, the frequency of headache occurrence must be greater than 15 days of headaches per month for a period of more than 3 months.

CDH closely mimics the symptoms of Tension-Type Headache, however the diagnosis is reached only when the following criteria is fulfilled; (1) pain that is experienced in the head, neck and face that is present for; (2) at least 15 days a month, for more than 3 months in a year. It is closely associated with medication overuse and differentiation of the conditions is crucial.

Severe and intense pain that is commonly unilateral (one-sided), Migraines are considered one of the most disabling and incapacitating disorders. Migraines account for up to 30% of all headache types, with various methods of physiotherapy treatment for headaches available to address this debilitating pain. The characteristic signs of Migraine are the accompaniment of “associated features”, most notably, visual disturbances and aura, nausea and vomiting or sensitivity to light, smell or sound. Contrastingly, migraines can also present without aura and are classified as “Migraine without aura”.

​Sub-types include;

(1a) Migraine with Aura:

Migraine with aura presents as headache accompanied with varying neurological symptoms such as visual or auditory hallucinations/disturbances. These symptoms may occur before and after the headache and are termed, “Prodromal” and “Postdromal” symptoms, respectively. These two phases may last hours or days preceding and succeeding the migraine pain. Prodromal and Postdromal symptoms can include increased or decreased alertness, depression and fatigue, cravings for particular foods, repetitive yawning, and neck pain.

​(1b) Migraine without Aura:

The less common form of migraine with a presentation unaccompanied by true aura symptoms. Typical characteristics include one-sided locality of head pain which is of; pulsing or throbbing quality, that is moderate to severe in intensity, and is aggravated upon exertion. Associated features may also include the accompaniment of nausea and vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound and smell.

​(1c) Menstrual Migraine:

The occurrence of migraine pain in relation to the menstrual cycle is a common feature in the majority of female migraine sufferers. This sub-type of Migraine can be further classified into; (1ci) Pure Menstrual Migraine and (1cii) Menstrually-related Migraine. The migraine can occur at any time prior, during or succeeding the menstrual cycle. Common associated symptoms include fatigue, changes in appetite, joint pain, and lack of coordination.

Menstrual Migraine is considered when symptoms of classic Migraine occur in close relation with the menstrual cycle, either immediately before, during or after. Previous theories pointed to hormone level imbalances as the culprit, however, research has concluded definitively that this may not be the case. Results from numerous studies have identified no difference in hormone level changes in Menstrual Migraine sufferers and controls (Migraine-free individuals). MM is considered a Primary Headache disorder as the cause remains unknown. Menstrual Migraine is a serious condition that affects 60% of female migraine sufferers.

The most common Headache type within the third category of Primary Headaches, Cluster Headaches are also termed “Suicide Headaches” due to the extreme nature of pain that is experienced within an episode. The attacks occur in ‘clusters’ of minutes to hours at a time. Individuals can experience several episodes in a day. The symptoms of Cluster Headache are readily identifiable and distinguishable in comparison to the other headache types. Typically, Cluster Headache sufferers will experience alternating periods of remission (headache-free periods) and symptomatic periods lasting for months at a time.

The pain is strictly unilateral (one-sided), and commonly located behind, or above the eye, and in the temple. Attacks occur between 15-180 minutes and in episodes ranging from once a day up to 8 times per day. Characteristic symptoms of Cluster Headache include the following; teary eyes, red or itchy eyes, nasal congestion, dripping nose, facial sweating, drooping eyelid, restlessness, and agitation.

Similar Disorders Include;

​(3b) Paroxysmal Hemicrania:

Presentation as above, with the substitution of attacks occurring at a frequency of more than 5 per day, within episodes lasting 2-30 minutes, accepts a diagnosis of Paroxysmal Hemicrania, in the absence of another pathology that does not better account for this presentation.

(3c) Short Lasting Unilateral Neuralgiform Headaches with Conjuctival Tearing (SUNCT):

Presentation as above, with the substitution of attacks occurring at least once a day, within short lasting episodes of 1-600 seconds per episode. Described often as a single stab, series of stabs or oscillating pattern.

​(3d) Hemicrania Continua:

Presentation similar to (3b) Paroxysmal Hemicrania, that is present for more than 3 months. This disorder responds absolutely to indomethacin.


Classification and identification of your specific headache type is vital in determining what method of treatment or physiotherapy headaches you experience will best respond to. Within the first assessment, your Headache Clinician will be able to identify your likely Headache diagnosis, the treatment options available for the identified condition, and, if determined that treatment is likely to succeed, a recommendation of a suitable plan for the treatment of your headaches or migraines.

For comprehensive physiotherapy services, get in touch with the physiotherapist Brisbane locals trust – Refine Health Group. Book an appointment online, or enquire about our physiotherapy for tension headaches and physio for migraines treatments to get more information. Contact us for a chat today, call (07) 3216 1330 or e-mail


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Bowen Hills Location

Refine Physiotherapy & Pilates Clinic

22 Campbell St, Bowen Hills QLD 4006
Free parking on site.

Fortitude Valley Location

Refine Physiotherapy & Pilates Clinic

Shop 29, Valley Metro Shopping Centre

Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006