Headaches are a really common complaint, 85% of the population in a given year will experience one. Usually they come and go, occasionally they can linger for days, weeks and months and may remain constant or may be reoccurring. This can make life miserable for the sufferer. Temporary relief is often sought through pain medications. However, without addressing the cause, the pain can return time and time again and could worsen. Osteopaths treat many patients who suffer from head and neck pain and can work extremely well for many types of headaches.
Headaches occur for many reasons and the various types of headache produce differing sets of symptoms.
- Tension headaches affect both sides of the head and are often described as a feeling of
tightness or pressure. These types of headache are often associated with stress.
- Migraines typically affect one side of the head and can be accompanied by nausea and
vomiting, abdominal pain, visual disturbances and sensitivity to light or sound.
- Cervicogenic headaches are daily headaches at the back of the head near the top of the
neck, and sometimes with pain around the eyes. These headaches are referred from the
- Cluster headaches cause severe pain on one side near the eye or temple. They are often
accompanied by difficulty opening the eye, a sweaty face, or a blocked or runny nose on the
same side as the headache.
The causes of headaches are wide and varied, so treatment must be individualised. By addressing the various tensions in your back and neck, osteopathy can help improve your posture and even improve your way of breathing to increase oxygen flow. Sometimes work posture has a significant role, especially for people who are sitting a lot throughout the day.
Small changes to your workplace setup, or micro breaks with stretching specific to your needs can make a lot of difference to the way you feel at the end of the day, as well as preventing the onset or frequency of headaches.
Often we see headaches develop after a fall or injury, even one which didn’t involve the head. When you have an injury, your body tries very hard to keep your head from hitting the deck, and in doing so can often strain neck and back muscles. You may not even notice these strains at first, but as your initial injury recovers you find you are left with headaches.
Migraines are a bit trickier than headaches, and prevention largely lies in avoiding the triggers. Many people have migraines triggered by chocolate, alcohol, medications, stress, and some are also triggered by exercise and hormonal fluctuations. The improvements in muscle balance, posture and circulation resulting from osteopathic treatment can often reduce the frequency or intensity of migraines, and minimise their disruption to your life and/or the amount of medication you need.
A trip to your Osteopath might help. Osteopathy works by correcting alignment and restoring mobility in the spine and joints, decreasing muscular tension, increasing blood flow and reducing nerve irritation. You may also receive advice about posture, stress relief, supplements/diet, exercises and stretches to assist the treatment.
If your injury or headache is associated with an accident, then you treatment can be partly funded by ACC. Practitioners at Active Osteopathy are ACC registered. This means that we can register your injury with ACC without the need for you to see your GP or physio. Simply book an appointment with us and we will supply and help you complete the necessary forms when you arrive.