Musculoskeletal Migraines Headaches

Mobility and Strengthening exercises


Firstly check the movements in your neck, move it up and down, right and left and bend to the right and to the left.

Once you have found where you struggle to go you can set up the exercises.

Example: you can turn your neck more on the right than on the left? And is difficult and uncomfortable to bend you neck forward?

Well may be useful to repeat through the day few sets of those movements(turn to the left and bend forward) aiming to go as far as possible with a bearable discomfort.


Left rotation:

  1. Start with you neck in neutral position
  2. Turn your head towards the left as far as you can, then return back to looking straight ahead.
  3. Start again and repeat few times

Forward Bending:

  1. Start with you neck in neutral position
  2. Tilt your head downwards as far as you can, then return back to looking straight ahead.
  3. Start again and repeat few times

Mobility + Proprioceptive exercise:

Another good exercise for the mobility and the proprioception of your neck could be to draw geometric figures with eyes closed as following:

  1. Close your eyes
  2. Imagine that the tip of your nose is a pencil
  3. Draw 2 circles clockwise and 2 anticlockwise, draw them as small as you can
  4. Repeat point 3 doing bigger circles
  5. Repeat point 4 until you will do the circle as big as you can
  6. Following the rules stated in the points 3,4,5 and do the same drawing a triangle.

As soon as it is easy enough you can enjoy yourself in doing more and more complicated geometric figures.


As you have done for the neck mobility, move your neck in each direction but this time pushing against the resistance of your hand.

Try to feel if there is any particular movement where you feel particularly a lack of strength.

Example: pushing forward is quite weak compared with the other movements of the neck.

Then a good exercise could be to push  against the resistance of your hand for about ten seconds, after few seconds of rest repeat it again for few times.

If you have an elastic band(theraband) you can even add a dynamic strengthening which will further help to strengthen your muscles.

You can find a theraband following the link:

Instructions without elastic band:

  1. Start with you neck in neutral position
  2. Place 1 hand on your forehead
  3. Push against the resistance of your hand for 10sec
  4. Rest few seconds
  5. Start again and repeat few times

Instructions with elastic band:

The static strengthening will follow the same instructions as above but using the elastic band

Dynamic strengthening:

  1. Start with you neck in neutral position
  2. Place the elastic band around your forehead and hold the edges with your hands
  3. Push your head against the band as far as you can
  4. Slowly go back to the initial position
  5. Start again and repeat few times

To obtain a temporal relief and reduce the tension in your muscles which will help as well to gain  a major range of movement you can massage the muscles in your neck.

To get a better result it will be helpful to focus on massaging the areas called trigger points, which are defined as the  ‘presence of tenderness at a nodule in a palpable taut band of muscle’.

They can give pain locally and/or refer in distal parts of the body.

These trigger points are usually located in precise area of the body and exist maps to easily locate them.

In the following link, you can find an example of trigger point map or better an illustrated book with the explanation how to locate them and where they usually can refer the pain.



Very useful and explanatory map can be found on this link:

How a Trigger Points can be treated?

There are several ways to treat them, the easiest is with hand and with specific tools.

  1. Locate the trigger point
  2. You will feel under your hands like a knot, a lump which will be tender when pressing on it
  3. Rub on it for about 4-6min with a moderate pressure, you should feel that it slowly disappears or reduces its size

3a. Another way could be to apply deep pressure for 30sec release for 5sec and repeat few times

  1. Go on working on another point
  2. It is usually advisable to do not work on more than 4-5 points per time.

May be helpful work in the neck and upper back area.

In the Book: , you can find particular trigger points such as those in the trapezius muscle which refer the pain in particular areas in the head.

Some useful tools to treat them:

Spike ball:

Massage roller ball:

Massage tool:

Foam roller:

These are only advice which can give you the possibility to help ourself. A visit with a professional physiotherapist would be the best way to really help you with your migraines or headaches.



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