Top 3 Painful Headaches Our Chiropractors See

At Empowered Health, our Geelong Chiropractors experience and manage a variety of headaches that present to us. According to, headache is defined as pain experienced in any part of the headache, with over 200 different types of headaches recongised in the International Classification of Headache Disorders.

How a headache presents can vary depending on the underlying cause of the pain. Pain can vary from throbbing to pressure-like, intensity can be mild to severe, some headaches may last for minutes/hours while others can persist for days. Understanding the different presentations of headaches can allow you to better understand which headache type might be involved, while also allowing for better management strategies.

Some of the most common types of headaches we see include:

  1. Tension-type headaches
  2. Cervicogenic headaches
  3. Migraines

In this article, we will break down the typical characteristics of each headache and how Chiropractic care may be able to help provide relief.


Tension-type headache

Typical symptoms or signs: Commonly presents with a dull or pressure-like pain, may be triggered with stress accumulation or poor posture, and typically involves both sides of the head in a ‘band’ like distribution.

Head pain symptoms can present is this pattern:

tension type headache, stress, headache, posture

Treatment and management of tension-type headaches often includes soft tissue therapy to the neck-head-face region, spinal adjustments, exercise therapy to promote better muscle and joint function.


Cervicogenic headache

Some symptoms or signs cervicogenic headache: Pain that increases with certain postural stresses, limited range of movement in the cervical/neck region, increased muscle tension, tightness or spasms in the neck, headaches referring from the neck-base of skull-back of the head region, jaw and shoulder referred pain, and difficulty or discomfort with sleeping.

Chiropractic care is typically directed towards the primary aggravator, the neck/cervical spine, this may include soft tissue therapy, dry needling, spinal adjustment, and exercise therapy aiming to improve joint and muscle function.




Some symptoms and signs of migraine headaches: Often involves one side of head/face, pulsatile-throbbing-pounding-like pain, headache episodes lasting for 2-72 hours, can be accompanied with nausea and/or vomiting, increased sensitivity to light or sound. Migraine sufferers often have a family history of migraine.

Head pain symptoms can present is this pattern:

migraine, headache, stress, head pain, chiropractor, chiropractic






Chiropractic care is focused on reducing pain, improving stress management, restoring normal nervous system and postural function. Treatment may include soft tissue therapy, spinal adjustments, ear insufflation, stress reduction strategies and nutritional/hormonal strategies.


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    Best Practices for Chiropractic Management of Patients with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline.
    The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.Oct 2020.884-901.
  2. Bini, P., Hohenschurz-Schmidt, D., Masullo, V. et al. The effectiveness of manual and exercise therapy on headache intensity and frequency among patients with cervicogenic headache: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Chiropr Man Therap 30, 49 (2022).
  3. Eigenbrodt, A.K., Ashina, H., Khan, S. et al. Diagnosis and management of migraine in ten steps. Nat Rev Neurol 17, 501–514 (2021).
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Luka Fantela