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Do you suffer from Headaches or Migraines? Do you know how to tell the difference? Melanie Larsen

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Melanie Larsen - Bowen Therapist

Do you suffer from Headaches or Migraines? Do you know how to tell the difference?

Chronic Migraines is diagnosed by a patient suffering from headaches for 15 days or more per month. Of those 15 days at least 8 of those days being migraine. Each Headache can last from as little as 2 hours through to 72 hours. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light, noise, smells
  • Visual disturbances (blind spots, zig zags patterns, flashing)
  • Tingling/pins and needles, numbness in the limbs

Arteries of the brain are affected during a headache or migraine. Swelling of the arteries in the brain results in the inflammation of the nerves of the arteries. Transmission from the nerve endings to the trigeminal ganglion cause pain.
After whiplash or concussion, the nerve root endings in the upper most part of the neck can become irritated resulting in pain in the upper back or the top of the head.
The meninges (connective tissue) can also become inflamed causing pain.
Tight musculature of the head and neck can influence headaches as can a dysfunction within the joints of the neck. (Cervical Spine)

What are the causes of this condition?

Cause of Migraines is unknown however some research suggests triggers can include:

  • Food and drink, (e.g. MSG, Alcohol, nitrates, dairy, artificial sweeteners)
  • Lifestyle stress
  • Hormone changes
  • Weather
  • Changes in Brain chemicals
  • Stress
  • Oversleeping
  • Changes in the joint and muscular function of the head and neck

Also, some research suggests it can be an inherited condition.

Which age group is most affected?

18 Years and over and of those, more are likely to be women than men, at a ratio of 75% women and 25% men.

There are 3 types of main treatment, Acute Treatment, Preventative, Lifestyle and Trigger Management.

Acute Treatment includes dealing with the symptoms as they are happening. It is recommended that medicating happens whilst the symptoms are still quite mild. That is when the Analgesics have the best chance of being effective. When the Analgesics are no longer working then Triptans can be used. It is recommended that opiates are avoided altogether. Medications often used include aspirin, non-steroidal anti inflammatories, paracetamol, ergotamine, anti-nausea. Lying in a quiet and dark room is also considered as acute treatment.

Preventative Medication, depending on the length of time suffering and the impact of the condition on the day to day living of life, can be called for. The drugs used for Preventative care varies and each come with further contraindications and side effects. These drugs can be oral drugs right through to Botox injections into the head and neck.

Lifestyle and Trigger Management - Keeping a diary of the headaches seems to be the best way to try and figure out an individual’s own triggers. By setting a very regular routine of food, sleep etc it can become easy to see triggers around diet and even stress. Especially if there has been no trauma or impact from whiplash or injury that has caused obvious physical stresses on the area. Other areas of lifestyle triggers include previous problems with stress/anxiety/depression and looking at some treatment approaches around those things on their own.
If you are looking for a manual therapy to help support, you on your journey with Migraines as you work through your Lifestyle and Trigger Management look no further than Bowen Therapy! Bowen Therapy sessions to address Migraines would be based on your individual situation. A postural assessment would be completed of not only the neck but also the pelvis and mid back. Range of Motion of these joints is assessed as well as determining if there is any pain present in specific areas when completing the basic functions of each joint. Based on the information found from these assessments the therapist makes gentle cross fibre moves on the body across muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerve bundles sending message to the brain via the nervous system telling the body to “Rest and Reset” Bowen works superficially on the fascia (connective tissue) of the body. This explains the deep sense of relaxation experienced during a treatment and assists positive changes to occur both physically, emotionally, energetically, and even spiritually within the body. The gentle nature of Bowen helps to re-hydrate the fascial network which may allow for improved function of organs and body tissues as a result.
It is for these reasons that many people choose to use Bowen Therapy as part of their Lifestyle Management for their Headaches and Migraines. To see how Bowen Therapy may be able to help you manage your Headaches or Migraines please ph. 0408 836 321 and organise an obligation free chat with Melanie today.


Bowen, Johnathon, ‘Treating Migraines with PEMF’, PEMF-TECH, website,

Health Direct, website,

Healthy Life Media Team, ‘What are Migraine Headaches’, Healthy Life Media, website,, May 1th, 2016

Precision Chiropractic, ‘Anatomy of a Headache, Precision Chiropractic, website,, 2018

Weatherall, Mark, W, ‘The diagnosis and treatment of chronic migraine’, NCBI, website,, May 2015

Headache Australia, ‘Migraine Tools’, Headache Australia, website,




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