An Osteopath’s View on Headaches

25th June 2019
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Headaches affect millions of people every year and while most of them aren’t ‘serious’, they can be debilitating and may affect your concentration, mood and ability to work.

The most common types of headaches are tension type headaches and ones referred from structures in the neck, better known as cervicogenic headaches. Tension type headaches are described as tightness around the forehead; the exact cause is not fully understood but can be triggered by stress, noise, fatigue and dehydration.

Cervicogenic headaches are caused by pain being referred from structures in the neck. These include muscles, joints and nerves, and patients usually experience restricted movement and altered posture around the neck and upper back. This type of headache is usually unilateral and aggravated by neck movements. They are common among individuals whose posture is compromised by long hours sat at a desk, certain cycling positions and emotional stress.

We can help you overcome your Headache.

How?

During your consultation, we will ask various questions relating to the type of headache you are experiencing, to identify the cause and reach a diagnosis. Questions will aim to obtain information about the exact location, pattern and severity, and what movements or activities aggravate the headache.

Symptoms which might suggest a referral for further investigation include headaches associated with fever, nausea and stiffness, a headache which occurred following a trauma and a headache associated with tingling or numbness in the face and slurred speech.

Following this, an physical examination will be carried out; looking at the movements of the neck and spine and tests to rule out other causes of headaches. Once your therapist has confirmed that the headache has a musculoskeletal involvement and won’t require further investigations, treatment will begin.

How will Treatment Help?

Treatment will focus on the structural elements of the problem; relieving tension within muscles around the neck, base of skull and shoulders, as well as, techniques to improve the range of motion within the spine.

These techniques will be combined with an exercise plan to address imbalances identified, improve overall posture and aid the recovery process; which often may be part of the cause of your headache.

Finally, advice will be given on appropriate sleeping position, posture at work and lifestyle changes which may help prevent a headache developing in the future.

Treatment will alleviate your symptoms quickly, but our goal is to make this pain relief long term!

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