What causes headaches?

There are thought to be over 300 causes of headaches and migraine and most fall into 3 categories:

  • Cervicogenic headaches
  • Migraine
  • Tension type headache

It is possible to suffer from 2 or more different types of headaches at the same time.

Cervicogenic: these are headaches that originate from disorders of the neck. It is usually felt as a headache on one side of the head and often felt behind the eye. The pain is referred into the head from the bony structures or soft tissues of the neck due to the brain misinterpreting the true origin of the pain. Cervical headache is often precipitated by neck movement and/or sustained awkward head positioning and is often accompanied by restricted cervical range of motion, pain in the neck, shoulder, or arm usually on the same side as the headache.

Tension type: these headaches are the most common form of muscular (or myogenic) headaches and appear to involve the tightening or tensing of facial and neck muscles; they may radiate to the forehead.

Migraines:  is the most common type of vascular headache. They are usually characterised by severe pain on one or both sides of the head, an upset stomach and occasionally disturbed vision. Migraines are more common in women and often hereditary.

What can you do for Headache?

Try to evaluate some of the possible contributing factors, several of which often exist together. Your physiotherapist can assist you with things you are unsure of:

  • poor posture – especially if you tend to poke the chin forward or you are rounded through the upper back and shoulders. Try to have a curve in the lower back, and shoulder blades should be gently drawn back towards the spine, the neck should feel long and the chin slightly tucked in. A lumbar roll may help.
  • neck and upper back stiffness– stiffness is often related to the ageing process and/or a sedentary lifestyle and/ or poor posture.
  • muscle imbalances – these often develop due to poor postural positioning
  • muscle weakness– this increases the work other muscles do – so they get tight, it also means you have less control of the movements occurring in your neck.
  • muscle tightness – often caused by muscle imbalance and poor posture, try using a heat pack (e.g. a wheat bag where the muscles feel tight around the neck).
  • previous neck trauma (e.g. whiplash)
  • inappropriate desk setup– your hips, knees and elbows should be at 90 degrees, if you are using a computer the screen should been at eye level.


  • inappropriate pillow or sleeping postures – try to avoid sleeping on your stomach as this puts a lot of pressure on your neck. If you sleep on your side, try to have a pillow that keeps your neck in good alignment (i.e. not too high or too low).
  • a sedentary lifestyle – try to keep active, even if it is 20-30 minutes of gentle walking or deep water running/ treading water.
  • a lifestyle comprising excessive slouching, bending forwards or shoulders forwards activities – be careful of chairs (such as very soft couches) that you sink into. Try to stand up every 10-15 minutes, our bodies are not designed to sit for too long!
  • stress – try to manage stress, regular exercise, an appropriate amount of sleep, plenty of water and fresh food will help, you can try massage, yoga or anything you find enjoyable to help manage stress. See your doctor if you feel you are still not managing your stress levels well.

How can Physiotherapy help?

Your physiotherapist will be able to assist you and give advice and education on how to improve on these factors as well showing you exercises and stretches to improve neck strength and flexibility. Your physio will also be able to provide ‘hands-on’ treatment to increase neck function, such as joint mobilisations, massage, acupuncture/dry needling, heat, ultrasound, postural taping or bracing and any other treatment that is specifically required. Your physio will also recommend consultation with your GP if physio treatment is not helpful for your type of headache.

Gold Coast Physiotherapy – Burleigh Heads and Broadbeach Physiotherapy Centres 07 5535 5218


Our Response to Covid-19

This page is up to date to our best knowledge, however, this is a rapidly evolving situation so we apologise for any potential delay in updating this information.

We want to reassure all our patients that we are following stringent infection control procedures in our clinic, and screen all people coming into the clinic, to exclude any patients that have any signs or symptoms consistent with Covid-19, as well as screening any patients that should be in isolation ie recently returned from overseas, or have been advised to isolate due to recent exposure with a known Covid-19 patient.

All our staff have now completed the Department of Health Covid-19 Infection Control Training.

What are we doing to minimise risk?

  • Screening patients for risk factors over the phone or through text messages before they attend appointments. Those with risk factors or symptoms are advised not to attend & to seek medical advice.
  • Hand sanitiser station at the front of the building must be used before you enter.
  • Following stringent infection control measures within the clinic. This includes
    • Disinfecting all beds, door handles, EFTPOS machine before and after each patient use.
    • Linen changed between each patient and commonly touched surfaces through the practice are cleaned regularly throughout the day.
    • Minimising the distances between clients in the waiting room- some chairs are outside undercover.
  • We have advised our team members not to come to work if they have cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • We are following all Department of Health recommendations for our type of business.

On the 30th March 2020 – the Australian government issued a statement that “People aged over 70, aged over 60 with pre-existing conditions, or Indigenous people aged over 50 should stay home wherever possible for their own protection.”

The decision to come in for physiotherapy treatment really is an individual one – if you feel that your treatment is medically necessary, and are comfortable with the risks of leaving your home and coming to physiotherapy, then rest assured that when you attend our physiotherapy clinic, we are following our strict infection control processes and doing everything we can to minimise your risk whilst in our care. However, we completely understand if you are not comfortable with coming in for treatment.

TELEHealth Consultations

We are offering telehealth consults and home visits (where suitable) for patients who cannot attend our clinic.

Read more about TELEhealth Consultations here.

Staying Healthy

  • Wash your hands often (and for 20 seconds) with soap and water
  • Cough into your elbow or use a tissue to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Social distancing practices – Avoiding close contact with others, such as touching, including shaking hands
  • Limit contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you are sick and encourage employees to stay home when sick
  • Get 7-8 hours’ sleep a night to help your immune system stay strong
Please stay safe and take care of each other!

We are monitoring the situation very closely and will make adjustments to our business as we are further informed. Our priority is the health & well being of our patients and our staff. Thanks for your understanding.

Product Enquiry