Builder’s spirit level and Leaning Tower a clue to headaches and migraines

23 April 2017

What do a builder’s two-metre-long spirit level, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and headaches and migraines have in common?

Nothing really. But the spirit level and the Leaning Tower can give you great clues as to what causes many headaches and migraines. It’s something most physical hands-on bodywork therapists and medical practitioners totally overlook or ignore.

Think about why a builder uses that level, say when building a wall or fence. If it is angled out even a few millimetres near the base, it could be 20 to 30 millimetres or more out at two metres high.

Check out a picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to put that in even more perspective.

Your feet are the base or foundation of your body. If they are not in correct alignment and the four arches of both feet are not striking the ground at the proper angles, they will help create muscular and structural imbalances throughout the body right up into the shoulders, neck and head.

These imbalances often cause headaches and migraines. They can also result in nerve impingement anywhere in the body. A major implication of that is that all functions of the body are controlled from the brain, via the nerves.

But don’t just take my word for all this. Check out your own posture. Just stand totally relaxed and get a family member or friend to have a look at you from side on. The middle of your ankle, knee, hip, shoulder and ear should all line up in a straight line at a right angle to the floor.

Don’t be surprised if the middle of the ear is at least five to 10 cm or more forward of the middle of your ankle. That is evidence of alignment and muscle imbalances throughout the body, usually starting in the feet. (It also suggests you need a good remedial massage).

It may also be at least part of the reason for any number of aches and pains you may experience. And because these imbalances can pull the jaw out of alignment, with the potential to impinge virtually any nerve in the body, it may be the cause or major contributing factor with a number of other ailments you might think are of a medical nature and require a medical/medications fix.

There are many different types of headaches and migraines and many potential causes. But one very simple cause almost always overlooked by medical and other health professionals are the ANATOMICAL imbalances throughout the body starting in the feet.

Some remedial massage clients tell me they “carry all their tension in their neck and shoulders.” That might seem totally logical for some occupations – like admin work, computer data entry or driving a taxi or truck all day – where poor postural habits can easily lead to tension in those areas.

But the simple fact is that if muscle and structural imbalances have started in the feet and worked their way up, their tension can’t go any higher than the neck, shoulders and head. All the stresses start to compound up there.

So, in many cases, where people have mentioned neck and shoulder tension, the problem was already there. It is just that their occupations have aggravated it.

Whenever I have a client who complains about headaches or migraines, the first assessment I do is to check if they have bent toes, or any other signs of feet misalignment, like ankles or arches rolling in or out, or feet turning inwards or outwards.

To an experienced and competent remedial massage therapist – or any other physical bodywork therapist, that immediately should create a picture of what muscles throughout the rest of the body will be compensating.

I don’t need to be a podiatrist – although I have done some study and training with one – to understand basic feet bio-mechanics.

In some cases – as well as giving the client a comprehensive remedial massage to correct muscle imbalances and realign the body, just getting them to swap their flat rubber thongs for a pair of orthotic thongs or to wear other supportive footwear is all they need to get rid of their headaches and migraines.

When your feet and ankles aren’t in their proper neutral position and don’t strike the ground correctly when you move (walk, run, jog, etc.), they force the Tibia and Femur bones in your leg to rotate out of synch at the knee. That then helps to pull the hips out of alignment.

WOW! Fixing regular headaches and migraines without numerous medical or physical therapy visits (that usually just focus on the neck and shoulders), medications, x-rays and other scans! It couldn’t possibly be that simple!

It often is – but the real trick to success is what an experienced and competent remedial massage therapist also does that makes wearing corrective footwear effective.

For example, if poor foot alignment has helped to pull one hip higher, it is also essential to realign the hips. Feet are the foundation of the body, but the hips are the structural centre.

I use a simple, painless and gentle technique with no forced movement that can realign the hips within about two minutes.

Hundreds of my massage clients over many years have had regular headaches or migraines totally disappear or were greatly reduced by this approach to treatment – in just ONE session.

When taking the medical history of one client some years ago, she made the comment she “could count on two hands the number of times she had woken up in the past 15 years without a headache.”

Taken at face value, that equates to about 10 days free of headaches in about 5,475 days. Even if that claim was a 500 times exaggeration – equating to 5000 days free of headaches, it would still mean she suffered a hell of a lot – or a lot of hell (475 days over 15 years, or 32 days or one full month each year) of serious headaches and migraines.

The day after my massage treatment, the client left a message on my answering machine. In an excited voice, she told me she had woken up without a headache and couldn’t thank me enough.

The headaches stayed away and her “tradie” partner also started coming to me for treatments for his various pain issues.

Remedial massage obviously isn’t the right treatment for all types of headaches and migraines. If you suddenly start experiencing blinding headaches, head straight to your doctor.

But if the frequency and extent of the headaches has been building up over time, it may be due to ANATOMICAL factors that can be dealt with relatively easily by an experienced remedial therapist.

David Hall ©


Townsville Massage therapist based in Mt Louisa and specialising in Remedial Massage for headaches and migraines and all types of muscle and/or joint aches and pains, as well as preparing for and recovering from exercise, sporting and other fitness activities. Guaranteed best value for money remedial massage in Townsville. CALL NOW on (07) 4774 6973 or 0438 774 819 to book an appointment.