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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can a migraine be caused by eucalyptus smell?

    My sun who is 11 years old suddenly complained about an unbearable headache. When taken to the doctor, he told us it is a migraine. He has allergy for dustmights, because of this for the last few weeks we apply eucalyptus spray to his bed and room etc.
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    Mr Roger O'Toole


    Roger O'Toole is the Director and senior clinician of The Melbourne Headache Centre. Since opening the Melbourne Headache Centre in 2012 Roger has amassed over … View Profile

    There are many triggers for migraine, all of which can be realted back to the Tirgeminal nerve or upper cervical nerves in some way, and while smell being one of our special senses is sensed through the olfactory nerve, the lining of the nasal passage is “sensed” by the trigeminal nerve.

    So if something flies up your nose, or you smell something very acidic that has that “bite” or “burning” quality to it, this information is sensed by you trigeminal nerve.

    We know that across all major headache types the area in the brainstem where the trigeminal nerve and upper cervical nerves terminate is overactive - the cup is almost full.

    If you smell something, that also has an affect on the lining of the nasal passage, and it goes back into the brainstem where there is a lot of overactivty, this extra information can “fill the cup over the brim” and a migraine is what results.

    This overactivityor fullness of the cup is often realted to treatable problems in the upper cervical spine, and much lke ingestant triggers (chocoloate, red wine) is not an allergy.

    Treatment of the upper cervical spine in affected people can result in “emptying the cup” and you being able to smell strong smells again, or others being able to drink or eat their usual triggers without fear of migraine.Regards, 

    Roger O'TooleDirector Melbourne Headache Centre
    Phone: 03 8648 

  • Lucinda Curran


    Lucinda Curran of Eco Health Solutions offers a truly holistic approach to health by combining Building Biology and Chinese Medicine. Her work is solutions-focussed and … View Profile


    Just a note of caution - if the headache is unrelenting (that is, it is constant and does not go away) - please go back to your doctor for further investigation.

    Hope all is well for him by now.


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