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UK Network of Headache & Migraine Specialists
The World Health Organisation estimates that around 250 million working days are lost every year in the UK through headaches and migraines. These statistics reflect a loss to the economy but do not begin to reflect the misery brought about through the debilitating pain of migraine and headaches.
Headache & Migraine Specialists represents a growing network of clinical physiotherapists and neurologists who are dedicated to improving the quality of life of headache and migraine sufferers.
The Headache & Migraine Specialist network keeps abreast of all the latest research in the diagnosis and treatment of head pain. We share best practice and are working towards a set of guiding principles and therapeutic interventions to guarantee consistency of care for all our patients.
Traditional Diagnosis & Treatment of Headaches & Migraine
The usual pattern for patients suffering from recurrent headaches is for repeat visits to the GP. Most doctors will attempt to identify patterns and triggers. They may refer to a neurologist or request CT or MRI scans to rule out serious underlying causes. Pain is often self-managed through over-the-counter remedies or requires ever-increasing strengths of pain relief.
By focussing on the symptoms rather than the underlying cause, pain is likely to continue.
The Underlying Causes of Headache & Migraine
Studies have identified a number of factors that contribute to headaches and migraine. Clusters of migraine sufferers within the same family indicate a genetic predisposition to head pain. Reactions to certain food groups including caffeine, chocolate and red wine suggest environmental factors. The fact that pre-menopausal women are three times as likely to suffer from headaches and migraine as any other group – including post menopausal women – indicates a hormonal factor. Recent research supports anecdotal links between stress and migraine. It is interesting to find that migraine is more common following a stressful experience than during it.
One complicating factor is that migraine and headache is often the result of a combination of factors rather than having any single cause. Research suggests that to experience a headache or migraine, a threshold has to be reached. A single glass of wine may not be enough to trigger a migraine on one day but that glass when combined with other factors may breach the threshold on another.
The latest research also suggests another factor in the cause of headaches and migraine. A factor that is often overlooked.
Neck & Shoulder Pain Causes of Cervicogenic Headaches
Tension, stress and musculoskeletal misalignments can induce pain in the muscles and tendons of the neck and shoulders. Signals are sent to pain receptors in the brain through the cervicogenic neural pathway in the upper vertebrae. These pain signals share synapses with the trigeminal nerves of the face and head and in many instances the brain misinterprets these pain signal, experiencing them as headache and migraine.
Significantly, more that 80% of patients suffering from headache and migraine report long term benefits from physiotherapy targeting the neck and shoulders.
Assessment and Treatment of Headaches & Migraines
Most headaches and migraines are not life-threatening but it is advisable to talk to your GP, especially if you develop sudden or severe symptoms which are different from previous attacks.
Every patient is different Headache & Migraine Specialists will look at all aspects of a patient's medical history and lifestyle. Cervicogenic causes of headache can be determined by temporarily reproducing the symptoms. Although uncomfortable this is short-lived and allows for more specific diagnosis and more effective treatment. With the correct treatment, most patients find the pattern and intensity of headaches starts to change very quickly.
Further Information / Contact Us
Headache & Migraine Specialists work with GPs, clinics, health centres and hospitals to provide accurate diagnosis and care pathways.
Headache & Migraine Specialists membership is currently strongest in London, Essex and the South East. We are always happy to hear from medical practitioners – including physiotherapists – who may be interested in working with us.
For further information visit us at www.headacheandmigrainespecialists.com or call us on 0844 264 0305.
Headache & Migraine Diagnosis & Treatment, Musculoskeletal Assessment, Trained Physiotherapists Specialising in Headache & Migraine Treatment, Medication, Upper Neck Pain, Alternative Headache Treatment & Cure By Physiotherapy, Cervicogenic Headaches, Physiotherapy, Ergonomic Realignment, Managed Headache Care Pathways, London, Essex
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