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How Can Manual Therapy Reduce Migraines?

Migraines have a chronic cyclical pattern, caused by 'triggers.' Often the triggers can be related to stress, joint restrictions in the upper neck and jaw, or proprioceptive deficits caused by conflicting messages from the the eyes or inner ears. Often headaches are misdiagnosed as migraines, since they have similar one sided pain symptoms, sound and light irritations, when in fact they are often cervicogenic headaches.


Migraines can be a result of irritation of the cervicotrigeminal nuclei that is located at the base of the skull. When there is compression on this nuclei, from joint and nerve compression, this can trigger headaches.

A cervicogenic headache is a headache that is caused by a problem in the neck or jaw. Restrictions in these areas causes tightness and poor motion substitutions, contributes to more muscles tightness, nerve compression and blood flow reduction.

Manual therapy involves massage, joint mobilization, joint manipulation and manual resistance for re-education of joint and muscle timing and activation to reduce these headaches caused by the neck and jaw.

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