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West Hampstead, North London: 020 8969 0247 Maidenhead, Berkshire: 01628 624544 [email protected]

Headache and Migraine Assessment in London and Maidenhead

Headaches and migraines are very common. Nearly everyone will suffer from a headache at some point and migraines affect at least 1 in every 7 adults in the world. Whilst most headaches are not serious and will go away on their own, if you find you are frequently suffering from headaches an osteopath can often help. Many of our patients have already tried various ways to tackle their headaches, such as changing their diet or various medications, but are still searching for the solution.

Osteopaths can assess your headache, treat your headache with physical therapy where appropriate and also refer you to the appropriate service if osteopathic treatment is not appropriate for your particular case. At Body Back-Up we can also directly arrange MRI scans where appropriate.

We are a leading osteopathic clinic run by Robin Lansman. Robin is a former president of the Institute of Osteopathy and a regular guest on BBC TV and Radio. We have clinics in North London and Maidenhead, and in addition to headache assessment and management we also treat many common and related conditions such as neck pain and fibromyalgia, and offer back pain clinic and sports injury clinic services. Our clinicians are registered with and regulated by the General Osteopathic Council.

If you are suffering from headaches we also recommend a vision check with an ophthalmic optician and additional retinal screening. This is particularly important if you work with a computer screen, as you may need special lenses to help you better cope with screen use.

Robin Lansman

Migraines and Workplace Health

Migraines frequently occur in the workplace, and correct workstation setup is a crucial factor in the prevention and management of migraines.

We are recognised by the European Migraine and Headache Alliance as a migraine-friendly workplace, and work with companies and individuals to set up their workstations to minimise the risk of migraines by improving posture and avoiding tension on the neck and head.

Osteopath treating woman for headache
There are three headache types which osteopaths can potentially help treat

Different Types of Headache

Headaches have many causes, varying from something as innocuous as drinking too much caffeine or having a hangover, through to more serious neurological conditions. There are three main headache types which osteopaths can potentially treat, following an assessment to understand the root causes of your headaches:

These headache types are explained in more detail below. Osteopaths are also trained Primary Care Practitioners, able to provide you with a thorough assessment and refer you to the appropriate service.

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are what most people consider a “normal” headache. As the name suggests they are caused by stress and tension, and contributed to by lifestyle factors such as not enough sleep, particular foods, too much screen time, poor posture, etc. Tension headaches are characterised by the feeling of pain behind the eyes or in the temples, or can feel like a tight band around the head.

Many people self-treat tension headaches with over-the-counter medicines, or simply by relaxing and covering the eyes. Whilst there is nothing wrong with self-treatment for the occasional headache, an osteopath can help to diagnose the root causes of regularly-occuring headaches and, where appropriate, reduce their incidence by helping the body to relax through better spinal alignment and muscular relaxation.

Young woman experiencing tension headache
Tension headaches are what many people consider a "normal" headache
Young woman at laptop with headache, holding her neck and head
Cervicogenic headaches have their roots in problems with the neck

Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic means “originating in the neck”, and cervicogenic headaches are those that stem from problems with the structures of the neck. This may be inflammation, muscular tension or misalignment of the spine. These problems then lead to a headache, known as a secondary headache because the location of pain is not where the problem originates.

Cervicogenic headaches are characterised by the pain being related to neck movement. For example you might experience pain when moving the head to one side, or when keeping it in the same position for a long period. Certain professions which involve keeping the head in one place for a long time (for example doing close detail work) are particularly susceptible to this kind of headache. Like migraines, the pain of cervicogenic headaches is often felt on one side of the head only.

Osteopathy is ideally suited to the treatment of cervicogenic headaches. Osteopaths are experts at diagnosing and understanding problems with spinal misalignment and muscular tension, able to understand the musculoskeletal issue at the root of your headaches and treat it directly.


Migraines are generally a more intense and longer-lasting form of headache. Migraines can last for up to 72 hours and are frequently accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, light aversion, and optical sensations such as seeing flashing lights or a halo around the field of vision, known as aura. Migraines are often experienced as a throbbing pain and are frequently experienced on one side of the head only. Migraines are very common, experienced at some point by around 10% of the UK population.

Osteopathy can often help in the management of migraines by keeping the cervical spine and structures of the head and neck relaxed and well-aligned, aiding relaxation and preventing physical stress. If physical therapy is unlikely to help or for any other reason your osteopath feels that a different course of treatment is more appropriate for your case, your osteopath can refer you to the correct service. At our London clinic, we work closely with the doctors at Doctor Today, and can also directly arrange MRI scans if necessary.

Woman experiencing migraine with aura
Migraines are often accompanied by visual phenomena

Lifestyle Medicine and Health Coaching with Karen Neil

If you feel that you have loose ends which have not been addressed by your doctor, have complex symptoms and causes which complicate each other, or would like more time with a specialist to really unpick your current issues and the best route forward, lifestyle medicine may be for you.

Lifestyle medicine seeks to extend the care given by your doctor. Appointments are longer, giving more time to go deeply not just into your physical symptoms and the medication you are taking, but your entire physiological and psychological landscape. This allows the lifestyle medicine practitioner to build a truly accurate understanding of who you are and the issues you are facing, and to find the right way forward for you.

Our lifestyle medicine practitioner, Karen Neil, is a specialist pharmacist who has been involved in health promotion since qualifying in 1994. She runs workshops, training days, and lectures, in addition to working directly with patients.

Karen Neil health coach & pharmacist
Young woman having osteopathy for headache
Osteopathy can often help in the management of headaches and migraines

Managing Headaches with Osteopathy

Osteopaths can help to assess your headache, and where appropriate, use a range of techniques to help treat and manage your headache symptoms. These include spinal manipulation, and soft tissue work such as deep tissue massage and myofascial release. Osteopaths work holistically, considering lifestyle factors and your overall body alignment and biomechanical function, and can often diagnose underlying causes which may be missed by simply focusing on the painful area. Osteopaths do not prescribe medication, and osteopathic assessment is an ideal first step if you wish to see whether your headaches can be treated without the need for drugs. 

An initial osteopathic consultation lasts 45 or 60 minutes, providing much more time to listen to your symptoms and carry out a thorough examination to get to the root cause of your symptoms. There is no long wait time and appointments are usually available within 24-48 hours.

Osteopaths are registered with and regulated by the General Osteopathic Council in the UK, and are one of the 14 Allied Health Professions.

Booking An Appointment

You can book an appointment quickly and easily online for both our London and Maidenhead osteopathic clinics using the booking system below. We pride ourselves on our 6-stage treatment process and providing outstanding care that really makes a difference. We also offer online video consultations, and specialise in workplace health, helping you to stay healthy and avoid headaches and other issues at work.

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Booking is quick and simple online

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Headache and Migraine Assessment in North London and Maidenhead

West Hampstead Clinic

020 8969 0247
Body Back-Up Healthcare
C/O Doctor Today
182 Finchley Road
West Hampstead
London NW3 6BP

Maidenhead Clinic

01628 624 544
Body Back-Up Healthcare
8a Moor Lane

Medical Review

The information on this page was last reviewed on 1 April 2022 by Robin Lansman DO AHP MIHPE

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