Saanichton Physical Therapy Blog

Recommendations for Headaches

Recommendations for Headaches

Physiotherapy and Massage Therapy can be very useful for the Tension Type headache described below.

 

Table: Diagnosis of Tension-Type Headache, Migraine and Cluster Headache

Headache Feature Tension-Type Headache Migraine (With or Without Aura) Cluster Headache
Pain location1 Bilateral Unilateral or bilateral Unilateral (around the eye, above the eye and along the side of the head/face)
Pain quality Pressing/tightening (nonpulsating) Pulsating (throbbing or banging in young people aged 12–17 years) Variable (can be sharp, boring, burning, throbbing or tightening)
Pain intensity Mild or moderate Moderate or severe Severe or very severe
Effect on activities Not aggravated by routine activities of daily living Aggravated by, or causes avoidance of, routine activities of daily living Restlessness or agitation
Other symptoms None Unusual sensitivity to light and/or sound or nausea and/or vomiting
Aura2
Symptoms can occur with or without headache and:

  • Are fully reversible
  • Develop over at least 5 minutes
  • Last 5−60 minutes

Typical aura symptoms include visual symptoms such as flickering lights, spots or lines and/or partial loss of vision; sensory symptoms such as numbness and/or pins and needles; and/or speech disturbance.

On the same side as the headache:

  • Red and/or watery eye
  • Nasal congestion and/or runny nose
  • Swollen eyelid
  • Forehead and facial sweating
  • Constricted pupil and/or drooping eyelid
Duration of headache 30 minutes–continuous 4–72 hours in adults
1–72 hours in young people aged 12–17 years
15–180 minutes
Frequency of headache <15 days per month ≥15 days per month for more than 3 months <15 days per month ≥15 days per month for more than 3 months 1 every other day to 8 per day3, with remission4 >1 month 1 every other day to 8 per day3, with a continuous remission4 <1 month in a 12-month period
Diagnosis Episodic tension-type headache Chronic tension-type headache5 Episodic migraine (with or without aura) Chronic migraine6 (with or without aura) Episodic cluster headache Chronic cluster headache