Osteopathy and Trigger Point Headaches

Trigger Point Headaches
Anjy Chahal, Registered Osteopath, Ealing

Anjy Chahal’s research into Trigger Point Headaches continues to inform her practice in this area.  Her insights are shared in the post below.


Tension Headaches

Tension headache is the most common type of headache and is usually described as a pain that feels like a tight band round the head, or a weight on top of the head. Sufferers may also feel pain along the neck and shoulders which can last from 30 minutes to several days, or may re occur depending on the severity. The most common causes of tension headaches are muscular tension, associated postural fatigue and stress.


A migraine is usually a severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head, with other symptoms such as visual aura and nausea. Migraine tends to cause more disability than tension headaches. 1 in 10 people suffer from migraine headaches and associated symptoms. Migraine attacks can vary in occurrence and intensity, they can last from 4 up to 72 hours depending on the individual.

What are Trigger Points? 

The term trigger point refers to a sensitive area in a muscle or fascia that becomes painful when direct pressure is placed upon it. This direct compression can cause local and referred pain. For example, when the muscle at the top of your shoulder has a trigger point it will refer pain up the side of your head and neck which can cause headaches or amplify an existing headache – as in a Migraine attack.

Trigger points are classified as either active or latent; an active trigger point is always tender and causes a clinical complaint, it initiates a local twitch response of the muscle fibres when stimulated with compression and prevents full lengthening of the muscle. Latent trigger points are pain-free  neuromuscular lesions that are usually associated with muscle overuse.

Trigger Point Headaches 

Trigger Point Headaches may be involved in both tension headaches and migraine. The mechanism is as follows.

Trigger points in the muscles at the base of the skull (suboccipital muscle group) are the most common cause of tension headaches. The suboccipital group work to keep your head balanced on top of your spine. Due to the constant use of this area, the muscles surrounding the head and neck overwork which then lead to the build up of muscular knots.  Trigger points are usually a common feature in tension headaches.

When trigger points refer pain they can trigger a  migraine attack in a person who has a history of Migraine headaches. Research shows that the longer the history of migraines, the more trigger points occur in the muscles and therefore the more frequent the attacks.

How can Osteopathy help Trigger Point Headaches? 

Osteopathy can help by using various techniques  such as mobilisation, stretching and trigger point release therapy in order to help relieve the muscles and surrounding tissues.

Trigger point release focuses on releasing the muscular tightness and shortening of the muscles via cycles of isolated pressure and release. Dry needle treatment (also known as medical acupuncture) can also be used to release trigger points.  This intermittent pressure encourages the muscle fibers to release these trigger points by calming neuromuscular over stimulation.

Osteopathy treatment can almost always alleviate tension headaches.  In Migraine, osteopathy may help to reduce the severity of attacks where trigger points are a feature of those headaches.

Clinic Closure Christmas and New Year 2017/18

The clinic will be closed on the following days over the Christmas and New Year period.  Same day appointments are usually available but it is advised to call ahead to book.  To make advance or same day appointments call 02089915280.  You may also book online here.

Sunday 24/12/17Closed
Monday 25/12/17Closed
Tuesday 26/12/17Closed
Sunday 31/12/17Closed
Monday 1/1/18Closed
Tuesday 2/1/18Open 12:40 to 20:00


Nutrition Therapy Sessions 1st December 2017

Nutrition Therapy with Daniel


Daniel O’Shaunessy will be returning on Friday 1st December to hold another monthly clinic at Health in Motion Osteopaths.  He is helping many people to get their health back on tract.  His clients tend to come with objectives such as weight control, chronic illness management, metabolism improvement, and sports performance.

We have two more appointment left at 10:40 am and 11:40 am.  This first consultation will take 1 hour and costs £98.  If you are interested then please call 020 8991 5280 or book online here.

Read this to find out more about Daniel.

Winter shopping evening & Winter gift voucher sale

Health in Motion Winter Shopping Evening

Did you know that ordinarily, the clinic is open most evenings until 8pm.  This gives our patients and visitors the ideal opportunity to purchase products and gift vouchers from our shop.  Our gift vouchers are a great gift for christmas and other occasions.  Health in Motion Gift Vouchers make the ideal present for people who value experience over products.  Your giftee will have the choice of one of the following consultations;

Osteopathy – ideal for those who need analysis and treatment for physical complaints such as sciatica, knee pain, etc;

Sports Therapy – ideal for those aiming to achieve greater physical performance;

Deep Tissue Manipulation for those who carry a chronic tension in their muscles.

There is no need to decide on the treatment type when you buy.  Let us know if the giftee is a new patient you are introducing to the clinic or a returning patient.  You may even buy these gift vouchers as a loving gift to yourself.

The sale price during the sale period is as follows;

1 voucher  – was £58 reduce to £55

2 voucher – was £58 reduced to £53 each

3 + vouchers – was £58 reduced to £50 each

The sale will be on until 30th December or until all the allocated number of vouchers are sold, which ever comes first.  If you buy during our Winter Evening Shopping Events – you will be welcomed with a winter  treat.  The current shopping event dates are;

Wednesday 15th November 2017,

Wednesday 22nd November 2017,

Wednesday 29th November 2017,

Thursday 30th November 2017.

To reserve your order of gift vouchers please use the contact form, call us on 020 8991 5280 or pop into the clinic at any time up to and including 30th December 2017.


Car parking near Pitshanger Lane

Parking near Pitshanger Lane

Patients driving to the clinic should allow 5 to 10 minutes to find a car parking space. Parking for shoppers is available on Pitshanger Lane and many of the sides streets without restriction. CPZ will be operational in some streets to the south of Pitshanger Lane from Monday 13th November 2017. This covers Castlebar Park, Victoria Road, Kent Gardens, Cleveland Road and Kent Avenue. The Hours of restriction are Monday to Friday 10-11am and 2-3pm.

Nutrition Therapy Sessions – 3rd November 2017

Daniel O’Shaunessy will be with us on Friday 3rd November to see people wanting to get their health back on tract.  His clients tend to come with objectives such as weight control, chronic illness management, metabolism improvement, and sports performance.

Daniel O’Shaunessy – BANT Nutrition Therapist

We have one appointment left at 11:00 am.  This first consultation will take 1 hour and costs £98.  If you are interested then please call 020 8991 5280 or book online here.

Read this to find out more about Daniel.

Ciaran Keen, Osteopath, joins the team in Maidenhead

Ciaran Keen, Osteopath at Health in Motion, Maidenhead

I am pleased to announce that Ciaran Keen, Registered Osteopath, has joined the team and will be offering appointments in Maidenhead from July 2017.

Ciaran graduated from the European School of Osteopathy.  He has worked in a number of settings including private practice,  the NHS, and as campus based sports therapist within a university sports faculty.  Ciaran used his time within the NHS to foster collaborative relationships with consultants to aid patient rehabilitation.

“I primarily support the Brunel University weightlifting team which includes national champions.  I am particularly interested in sports injuries and I train like a cross-fitter.  I have also coached crossfit and weightlifting in the past.  I am taking further studies to become a better strength coach”.