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9am – 6pm

North London
020 7692 1818

Migraines Osteopath London & Woking

Osteopathic and Acupuncture treatment for migraines in London and Woking

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Migraines Osteopath London & Woking

I’m Laurens Holve, an osteopath and acupuncturist with over 35 years experience treating migraines with osteopathy in London and Woking, and in clinics around the world.

For more information about me, including professional qualifications and experience, see my about me page.

Booking an appointment is quick and easy online, but I am also always happy to discuss your symptoms and treatment options, and give you support and advice with no obligation. Contact me

Our Clinics

Treatment for migraines is available at our London Highgate Clinic and Woking Clinic

Migraines Osteopath London & Woking Prices and Booking

  • London Initial Appointment £60
  • Woking Initial Appointment £60
  • London Follow-up Appointment £55
  • Woking Follow-up Appointment £50

Booking is simple using the online system. For all other enquiries please don’t hesitate to contact me.

You may also like to see my frequently asked questions.

Treatment is covered by many major health insurers. Please check your policy.

About Osteopathy

Osteopathy is a hands-on physical therapy that uses techniques such as spinal and joint manipulation and mobilisation, soft tissue techniques and stretching. Many osteopaths also use dry needling, known as Western acupuncture, and I use traditional acupuncture also.

Osteopaths train for a minimum of 4 years and complete a minimum amount of Continuing Professional Development each year. Osteopathy is recognised by the NHS and one of the 14 Allied Health Professions. Osteopaths are registered and regulated in the UK by the General Osteopathic Council.

Osteopathy and acupuncture do not use drugs and are considered to be conservative, pain-free treatments. If you  have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Osteopathic Treatment for Migraines

Woman receiving osteopathic treatment for migraines
Osteopathy can help many cases of migraine

Osteopathy is a major medical intervention in helping to reduce migraine triggers, by working on the musculature and helping joint movement in the neck, helps markedly reduce the incidence of migraines. Patients often report an immediate improvement in symptoms such as duration or symptoms or intensity of attack

What Osteopathic Techniques Are Used for Migraines?

There are many osteopathic techniques that are used, but the main thrust of osteopathy is to reduce joint restrictions, so a combination of soft tissue techniques are used along with joint mobilisation, where the spinal joints are put through a range of motion. An Osteopathic manipulative technique called a high velocity thrust (HVT), can also be used where a quick thrust is applied to the spinal joint and sometimes a crack or a pop is heard accompanying this.

Can Cranial Osteopathy Help with Migraines?

Cranial Osteopathy is a more controversial area of treatment where it is purported very fine “adjustments” are made via the skull to influence pressure and the flow of cerebro spinal fluid within the brain, but there is very little evidence of consistent results.

Much more consistent and reliable tools to help are Acupuncture and Trigger Point treatment (often called Dry Needling), which certainly can reliably favour a good outcome in migraine treatment.

Self-help for Migraines

If you’re suffering from headaches and migraines there are range of simple self-help techniques you can use to relieve your symptoms. In these two videos I look at lifestyle changes and acupressure techniques which can help you.

How Common Are Migraines?

If you suffer from migraines you’re far from alone. Migraines are estimated to affect more than 1 in 10 people worldwide. They occur most often in people aged 20 to 50 years, and are about 3 times more common in women than in men.

If you suffer from migraines you’ll know just how incredibly disruptive to daily life, causing intense pain and a range of other symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and even temporary vision loss.

Despite their prevalence, migraines remain somewhat of a mystery in the medical world. Why do some individuals experience chronic migraines while others rarely get them? What causes these excruciating headaches to occur in the first place? Although there are many unanswered questions, effective treatment is available.

Migraine Triggers

Migraines can be triggered by a variety of factors, including:

  1. Certain foods: Foods like aged cheeses, chocolate, and processed meats contain substances like tyramine or nitrates that can cause migraines in susceptible individuals.
  2. Environmental changes: Bright lights, loud noises, strong smells, and changes in weather patterns are common triggers for migraine headaches.
  3. Hormonal fluctuations: Fluctuations in estrogen levels during menstrual periods or pregnancy can increase the likelihood of migraines occurring.
  4. Neck pain and stiffness, which lowers the threshold for triggering migraines

Migraine Risk Factors

In addition to these triggers, certain risk factors may make individuals more prone to developing migraines. These include:

  1. Stress: Stress is a major trigger for many migraine sufferers.
  2. A family history of migraines: Having close relatives who experience migraines increases an individual’s chance of having them as well.
  3. Gender: Women are three times more likely than men to suffer from migraines due to hormonal differences.
  4. Age: Migraine attacks tend to peak during adolescence and early adulthood before decreasing in frequency.

Understanding these triggers and risk factors is crucial for managing migraine headaches effectively. By identifying personal triggers and avoiding them whenever possible, individuals may be able to reduce the frequency and severity of their migraine episodes.

Understanding Migraine Symptoms

A woman with migraines seeking treatment from an osteopath in London.
Migraines can cause intense, throbbing pain

Migraines are more than just headaches; they often come with a host of physical symptoms that can be debilitating. Here’s an overview of what happens in the body during a migraine attack:

  1. Throbbing pain: One of the hallmark symptoms is an intense, throbbing headache that is usually felt on one side of the head. This pain can last for hours or even days, making it difficult to concentrate or go about daily activities.
  2. Sensitivity to light and sound: Many people with migraines experience heightened sensitivity to light and sound. Even normal levels of brightness or noise can become unbearable during an attack.
  3. Nausea and vomiting: The nausea experienced during a migraine can be severe enough to cause vomiting. This further exacerbates dehydration and weakness, adding to the overall discomfort.

Understanding these physical symptoms is crucial in managing migraines effectively. By recognizing these signs, individuals can take steps towards finding relief through medical interventions and lifestyle changes that minimize triggers and promote well-being.

The 3 Types of Migraine

Migraine Without Aura

This is the most common type of migraine, characterized by moderate to severe headaches that are usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.

Migraine With Aura

In this type, individuals experience visual disturbances called “auras” before or during the headache phase. These auras can manifest as flashing lights, blind spots, or zigzag lines.

Chronic Migraines

Chronic migraines occur when an individual experiences a headache on 15 or more days per month for at least three months. The headaches must meet the criteria for migraine characteristics.

How Migraines Occur

Migraine attacks are believed to be driven by complex neurological processes within the brain. These processes involve various areas and structures, including the trigeminal nerve, hypothalamus, and brainstem.

  • The trigeminal nerve plays a crucial role in migraine attacks as it transmits pain signals from the head and face to the brain. During a migraine episode, this nerve becomes overly sensitive, causing intense throbbing or pulsating pain.
  • The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating several bodily functions such as sleep patterns, appetite control, and hormone production. In people prone to migraines, irregularities in the hypothalamus may trigger an attack.
  • The brainstem acts as a relay centre between the spinal cord and higher areas of the brain. Dysfunction in this region can lead to abnormal sensory processing during migraines.

These interconnected neurological processes create a cascade of events that result in debilitating headaches experienced by individuals with migraines. Understanding these mechanisms is crucial for developing effective treatment strategies that target specific components of migraine pathophysiology.

Migraine Aura

Migraine auras are temporary sensory disturbances that can occur before or during a migraine attack. These visual disturbances often manifest as flickering lights, zigzag lines, or blind spots in the field of vision. Some people also report sensations like tingling or numbness in their limbs, difficulty speaking, or even hallucinations.

The exact cause of migraines with aura is not fully understood. However, researchers believe that these sensory disruptions may be caused by changes in electrical activity within the brain. It’s important to note that not everyone experiences aura symptoms – they are estimated to affect around 25% of migraine sufferers.

Here are some common characteristics and experiences reported by individuals who experience migraine auras:

  1. Visual disturbances: These can range from shimmering lights to seeing flashes and dots.
  2. Sensory changes: Tingling or numbness may occur in the face or limbs.
  3. Language difficulties: Difficulty finding the right words or forming coherent sentences can be frustrating.
  4. Hallucinations: In rare cases, individuals may have strange visual perceptions or auditory hallucinations during an aura episode.

If you experience any of these symptoms before or during your migraines, it’s essential to speak with your healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options tailored to your needs.

By identifying your individual migraine triggers and understanding the various risk factors involved in these attacks; you can take steps towards managing your condition more efficiently

Migraine Treatment Options

Medications for Migraine Relief

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and aspirin can help alleviate mild to moderate migraine symptoms.
  • Triptans, a class of prescription drugs, work by constricting blood vessels in the brain and blocking pain signals. They are effective in tackling moderate to severe migraines.
  • Certain anti-nausea medications can be prescribed to reduce nausea and vomiting associated with migraines.

Lifestyle Changes for Managing Migraines

Recognizing and avoiding triggers like certain foods, stress, or lack of sleep may help prevent future migraines.
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule with consistent wake-up times is crucial in managing migraines effectively.
Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines.

The Role of Genetics in Migraines

Genetic factors play a crucial role in the development and occurrence of migraines. Researchers have identified specific genes that are associated with an increased risk of migraines.

For those who have a parent or close relative with migraines, their chances of experiencing migraines are significantly higher compared to individuals without a family history. This suggests that there is an inherited aspect to this condition. However, it’s important to note that genetics alone do not determine whether someone will develop migraines.

In conclusion, while genetic factors may predispose certain individuals to experience migraines, they are not the sole determining factor. Understanding these inherited aspects can provide valuable insights into preventing and managing migraine attacks. It highlights the importance of considering both genetic and environmental factors when exploring treatment options for people living with this debilitating condition.

Osteopathy for Migraines - Case Studies


Jane, a homeworker in her mid forties, has a job which entails her having to look for extended times at her computer.

She complained of head pains which seemed to come from the back of her neck. She often felt dizzy and nauseas just before her throbbing pain started, and at times had to take time off work as she just couldn’t manage it. 

She had a young family to take care of and was starting to feel she couldn’t cope.

She was on medication amitriptyline, co-codamol which left her feeling tired and exhausted.

Her GP had referred her for Physiotherapy which had not helped, and she had tried Osteopathy and Chiropractic with minimal impact.

She consulted me in desperation and as a last hope to see with a combination of treatments whether I could help.

I treated her neck and used dry needling in both her neck musculature and around the top of her shoulders. I also used some Osteopathic techniques to help mobilise her neck.

The following week when she returned for her second treatment, she told me her neck felt a lot looser and there was an immediate improvement in the intensity of her pain. Treatment continued for a couple more weeks after which she was able to reduce her medication.

Within two months all her symptoms had abated, and for the past six months has not had a recurrence.

Mrs B

Mrs. B, a 53-year-old translator I have seen over a number of years mainly for low back pain.

In 2019 she suffered a fall from her horse after which she developed frontal headaches and then from 2021 this had transformed into migraine type pattern headaches.

She had right sided neck restriction and muscle spasm as well as deep contraction in her trapezius muscle as well. All probably the result of her fall from the horse.

Like all migraine sufferers, she was finding it difficult to work , look after her family, as once a week she had to avoid bright lights. She was on heavy medication during attacks which made her very drowsy.

I used osteopathic treatment on her back and neck for the first treatment. She reported an immediate improvement in her neck movement and pain reduction.

The second treatment I started using dry needling around her trapezius muscle and some generalised Acupuncture. After 4 sessions there was a marked reduction in her symptoms, she was able to stop all medication, and she now visits every two months or so where I add some treatment to give her long lasting relief to her migraines and so she doesn’t have to take medication or take time off work.

By sharing these real-life success stories, we hope to inspire others suffering from migraines to consider trigger point acupuncture as a potential solution for finding lasting relief. Each individual’s experience may vary; however, these cases showcase how this holistic approach can lead to significant improvements in quality of life when it comes to managing migraines.

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Medical Review

The information on this page has been reviewed for accuracy by Laurens Holve BSc., Osteopath.