What is A Migraine?

Understanding your migraine is half the battle to successfully managing your condition. Migraine symptoms can vary but fall into 2 main categories of migraine with or without aura. The headache typically lasts for 4-72 hours with at least 2 pain qualities including one-sided, pulsating, moderate to severe intensity pain levels, or the pain is aggravated by normal daily activity.  The headache is also associated with either nausea and/or vomiting, or there is a sensitivity to light or sound.  

In migraine with aura, people additionally experience 5-60mins before the headache a completely reversible aura including disturbance to their vision, sensation, speech, loss of motor control, or loss of balance.  There is also typically a post migraine “hangover” stage where the pain is over, but fatigue, function, cognition and mood are still impacted before a migraineur is fully recovered from an episode.  

There are other more atypical migraine presentations as well including experiencing a migraine aura without ever leading to a headache.  At HNJ Clinic, our practitioners take a full hour during an initial assessment to gain a clear history of your migraine symptoms and general health in order to accurately diagnose your migraine contributing factors and select optimal treatment. We treat migraines, menstrual migraines and abdominal migraines. 

Headache, Neck & Jaw Conditions We Treat

Our Brisbane clinics specialise in the treatment of head, neck and jaw conditions, many of which are notoriously difficult to treat. If you’re experiencing symptoms of any of the following problems, our team has the expertise and training to help.



Jaw and Orofacial Pain

Neck Pain and Trauma

Whiplash and Nerve Pain

Vertigo & Dizziness


Singing / Vocal


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If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort then don’t put it off - contact our friendly team today to make an appointment with one of our expert physiotherapists.

Had Treatment Elsewhere And It Didn’t Work?

The precise causes for a migraine differ for each person and each episode based on a multitude of factors. It all boils down to a heightened sensitivity to changes in physical or chemical stimulus along the trigeminocervical system.  This trigeminocervical system involves the soft tissue sensors, nerves, joints and blood vessels in the head, face, and neck region as well as control centres for these inputs located in the brainstem before the information is processed centrally by the brain.  The migraine pain felt typically in the front, or back of the head or around the eye can therefore originate from peripheral stimulus anywhere along the head, neck or face region or from sensitised central processing of normal stimulus.  Some people have their pain triggered by one stimulus; others require a perfect storm of multiple inputs before they experience a migraine response.  These inputs can be internal such as hormonal changes or external such as exposure to glare or neck or jaw tension. Studies now indicate migraineurs are particularly sensitive to these stimuli in a 2-48 hour window before their headache onset, when their central processing systems are vulnerable, as evidenced by warning symptoms like tiredness, irritability, neck stiffness, or sensitivity to light or sound.  Factors can also amplify each other such as a stressful situation making you anxious and tense leading to pain and fatigue which can trap you in a loop of poor mental and physical function leading to more pain, stress and tension.

You are not alone in experiencing migraines as it is the third most common and debilitating disorder worldwide with a recognised high impact on functional ability at work and home.  Surveys of people who experience migraines demonstrate common feelings of isolation, helplessness, depression and fear of the next attack but these people also report they become stronger and better at coping with their migraines over time.  Understanding your triggers and any warning signs indicating your brain and body may be more susceptible to triggers helps you gain control over your migraines to mitigate the feelings of helplessness and fear.  You need to identify what factors are relevant in your migraine presentation to determine what you can modify, or what your body and central processing systems must learn to better tolerate.  

The physiotherapists at HNJ Clinic have all undertaken extensive training with many years of experience at assessing and treating migraines to help you identify and target your specific relevant factors.  There are many strategies you can use to better understand and manage your migraines.   Talk to the caring team at HNJ Clinic to take back control of your migraines today.

Vestibular Migraine Resources

Read more about vestibular migraines and how to manage and treat them.

Menstrual Migraines

If your migraine is regular as clockwork based on your cycle, you are probably getting menstrual migraines. They can be mid cycle, a few days before, or even a few days after or all the above. Learn more about the causes of physiotherapy treatment for menstrual migraines.

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