Can physiotherapy relieve headaches, migraine and dizziness?


Example Published For Regency Specialist Hospital

Migraines, headache or dizziness are common problems faced by working adults. It can resolve after a good night‘s sleep or massage but the root cause may still remain. If you are experiencing these symptoms, please seek medical advice. According to Regency Specialist Hospital’s Senior Physiotherapist, Eow Sze Kim, it might be caused by the following problems:

Neck Issue

It is also known as cervicogenic headache which is caused by underlying neck issues. The junction of the upper neck (cervical) and back of head (occipital) regions have many pain-sensitive structures which include the lining of the cervical spine, the joints, ligaments, cervical nerve roots and the muscles. It is similar with other types of headache or migraines. This common type of headache usually responds well to physiotherapy treatment. There are few major contributing factors such as poor posture, stiffness of the joints in the neck and upper back, muscle imbalance (muscle tightness and muscle weakness) and previous neck trauma (sport injury).

 Tension Headaches

Tension headache is the feeling of a tight band around the head. The muscle in the head and neck will give the experience of a certain level of tightness. It is usually caused by physical and/or emotional stress. Emotional stress will release stress chemical adrenaline which will tighten the muscle of the back, shoulders, neck and head. This can further cause pain in the head.

Benign Proximal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

BPPV is a condition characterised by episodes of sudden and severe vertigo (dizziness) with head movement. Common triggers of vertigo include rolling over in bed, quickly getting out of bed and the sudden lifting of your head to look up.

How can physiotherapy help with headaches?

Physiotherapy is the treatment of injury, disease and disorders through physical methods — such as exercise, manual therapy, electrotherapy and other treatments. It can be a good support to treat headaches or vertigo. Physiotherapists are experts in posture and movement of the body. Those that are well-trained with specific skills in vestibular rehabilitation can conduct a comprehensive assessment of your headaches. Through these tests, they are able to establish the cause of your symptoms, diagnose it, and manage and prevent some of the common types of headache.

What to expect during physiotherapy session?

Physiotherapist will start with a subjective assessment where he or she will ask you a series of question with regard to your headache. This will be followed by an objective assessment that can include neck range of motion, cervical position sense, Romberg test, nystagmus test with cervical rotation, saccade eye movement, gaze stability and Dix-hallpike manoeuvre.

After the assessment, your therapist will provide you with a personalised exercise regime. Your symptoms will normally resolve within 4 – 6 sessions of therapy. The treatment methods may include heat therapy, trigger points release, electrotherapy or joint mobilisation that require stretching and passive movement technique.

There are some lifestyle factors that you should also take into consideration:

Posture –Stand tall with your chest lifted, shoulders relaxed, head level and chin tucked in.

Work – Avoid working with your head stagnantly down for long periods of time, and frequently stretch and change positions.

Sleeping – Poor sleeping positions can strain your neck.

Exercise – Carry out exercises that help with tight or weak muscles to help you restore normal function.

Relaxation – Learning to recognise when you are tense is an important component in rehabilitation. Learn to relax yourself.


For more information, please contact Regency Specialist Hospital’s Rehabilitation Department at 07-3817717 or email us at

Read more
Share on: