Migraine Headache

What is a migraine headache?

"Migraine is ranked the top three most prevalent disorder in the world, and the top seventh highest causes of disability worldwide. 1"

According to the International Headache Society, a migraine attack usually occurs on one side of the head, although the side may change from episode to episode. The pain intensity can range from moderate to severe with a pulsating and throbbing like pain. It can cause nausea and vomiting as well as, sensitivity to light, smell and sound during an attack. Migraines can last anywhere between 4 hours to 3 days and can leave those disabled and bedridden during an attack.

Migraine with Aura

In many sufferers, migraines can also be accompanied by 'aura'. Aura is the term used to describe gradual development of neurological symptoms, which precedes a migraine attack. It lasts from 20-30 minutes, followed by the main attack.

Symptoms may include:

  • Altered vision with flickering lights, dark or white spots, lines, waves, or in some cases temporary loss of vision.
  • Sensory symptoms such as a burning or prickling sensation, or loss of sensation.
  • Speech disturbances.

What is the cause of migraines?

The traditional, though outdated theory of migraines and how migraines occur was originally thought to be dilatation of the blood vessels (relaxation and expansion of the blood vessels that allows for increased blood flow) inside the head to cause an increase in blood flow to the head. This old theory was thought to be interpreted as damaging, and therefore pain, in the form of a migraine-like pain. This theory, however, has been debunked in more recent research, as the changes in blood flow are insignificant and minimal, and is considered unrealistic to apply the symptoms of Migraine with such a small change in blood flow2. Hence, the old theory of migraines being a vascular issue has been proven false.

Discoveries within recent research have found the primary contributing factor to be related to the neck, predominantly a fault in the upper cervical spine resulting in a SENSITISED BRAINSTEM. A sensitised brainstem and more importantly, a sensitised trigeminal cervical nucleus has been shown to be the cause in pain reproduction to the head.  This indicates migraines are due to a neurological disorder rather than a vascular disorder. Clinicians around the world are now pointing to the neck as the cause of migraines and are now treating the cervical spine rather than prescribing medications3.

I've already tried everything. What else can be done to help Migraines?

You may have tried countless amounts of medications to assist with your migraines. Some medications can have great results, and some others may not have any effects. The question you need to ask yourself is, "are medications treating the cause of my problems, or only masking the pain?" The answer is, medication only masks the pain by treating symptoms, rather than treating the cause of the problem. Many other sufferers have also trialled many treatment modalities such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), physiotherapy, chiropractors, acupuncture, massage, osteopaths, altering diets, injections to the neck and scalp, surgery to the neck, or radiofrequency (RF) or cauterisation of nerves. Despite their efforts, they still live a life filled with migraines.

Modern medicine continues to improve and new literature continues to grow, and unfortunately this means that no one can keep up with all the latest research. Many practitioners rely on the outdated medical model of how to treat headaches and migraines. Here at the Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinic, we specialise in treating migraines. Therefore, we continue to have a team who keeps up to date with the most recent research, and applying the most effective treatments on our patients. We have seen many with chronic migraines and use world-class techniques in assessing and treating the neck. A thorough examination of the upper cervical spine is initiated to determine the severity of your SENSITISED BRAINSTEM. Our unique assessment procedure will determine the cause of your migraines, and identify whether your migraines are due to a sensitised brainstem.

If deemed appropriate and treatment commences, we expect a significant improvement to occur rapidly in 90% of our patients with Migraines, within the first 5 treatment consultations. We’re not in the business of giving false hope. If we don’t think our treatment can help you, we will let you know after the initial consultation. Our treatment is effective in alleviating or dramatically reducing migraines in 85-90% of sufferers.

Imagine living a life free from migraines and saying goodbye to medications!

To gain your Migraine Headache recovery in Brisbane today contact us on 1800 HEADACHE (toll free)

1800 43 23 22


1. Global Burden of Disease Survey 2010

2. Goadsby, P,J, (2009) The vascular theory of Migraine. A great story wrecked by the facts. Brain, 132 (1), pp 6-7.

3. Andrew Charles – Professor of Neurology at UCLA interviewed on "Health Report" on ABC. Available on podcast

Tension Type Headache Brisbane