Headaches

Pains that occur over various parts of the head are called a headaches. It is a common and sometimes debilitating condition. Whether it is the intense and prolonged pain of migraines or the dull persistent ache of a tension headache the impact on life can be enormous. There are many causes of headaches so it is important to see a health professional that can accurately diagnose the problem. Some conditions that lead to headaches include:

  • eyestrain
  • high blood pressure
  • sinus
  • neck problems
  • infection
  • post trauma
  • allergies
  • stress
  • tumours

This list is not exhaustive but underscores the need not to trivialise the pain from headaches or mask the pain with daily painkillers.

How can an Osteopath help?

Your Osteopath will take a full case history and conduct a thorough examination to detect what type of headache you have or if you need to be referred for further investigation or treatment.
Fortunately, the majority of headaches, painful though they may be, are not caused by serious problems. Some of the most common causes of headaches are the result of tension in the neck and scalp muscles or problems with the jaw, such as clenching. In these cases osteopathic examination can determine if the primary problem is in the head and neck or problems elsewhere in the body are affecting this area. Often people are unaware they have problems until the examination uncovers tender areas in and around the neck, jaw and scalp.

Treatment involves using a number of gentle joint and muscle release techniques which restore normal function and stop the referral of pain to the head. If the primary problem is elsewhere such as the pelvis then the majority of the treatment session will be spent there. Sometimes stress management techniques are also discussed.

Your Osteopath will also examine your posture and give some exercise advice if needed to aid with the treatment. It is important to follow the advice given to achieve the best results.
Even in severe cases where headaches cannot be totally resolved Osteopathic treatment can often aid in decreasing the frequency and severity of the condition.

Research Links:

Efficacy of spinal manipulation for chronic headache: a systematic review.

A comparison of selected osteopathic treatment and relaxation for tension-type headaches.

The osteopathic treatment of menstrual migraine