Headaches are often considered “just something you have to put up with”, they come and they go, occasionally lingering for days, or reoccurring on a somewhat regular basis. Most people seek headache relief through over-the-counter pain medication, however this only provides a temporary form of relief without addressing the underlying causes of the problem.
Pain can occur in the front, back, side, or all over the head as well as behind the eyes. Various other symptoms may or may not be present including nausea, jaw, neck or back pain, dizziness, visual disturbances, discomfort in the shoulders, and general aches and pains.
What Kind Of Headache Do I Have?
Not all headaches are the same, different types of headaches are defined by their different symptoms. Some of the more common types are listed below.
Tension-Type Headaches. These tend to affect both sides of the head and are commonly described as a feeling of pressure or tightness. Sometimes caused by tension and strain to muscles and joints in the neck, these types of headaches are often associated with daily stress and fatigue.
Cervicogenic Headaches. Typically described as pain near the back of the head or top of the neck, and sometimes with pain around the eye area. This type of headache will generally vary in frequency and intensity.
Migraine Headaches. Commonly associated with only one side of the head, migraines are usually significantly more intense and symptoms can include vomiting, nausea, problems with vision and increased sensitivity to light or sounds.
Cluster Headaches. These are usually associated with severe pain on one side of the head occurring in cyclic patterns or clusters. Symptoms such as a runny nose, eyelid drooping, sweaty face or watery eyes may also be present.
Headaches can also be the result of dehydration, eye strain, withdrawal symptoms, caffeine, medication overuse, infections, hormonal fluctuations, hypertension, concussion and sinus issues as well as numerous other causes.
How Can An Osteopath Help My Headache?
Osteopaths are often asked to treat headaches in adults and children, they are skilled in assessing the type of headache and the most suitable course of treatment.
It is sometimes underestimated how much structural problems in the neck and upper back can be the hidden cause of unexplained headaches. The nerves of the face, head and neck can be affected along with the associated tissues, ligaments and muscles.
An Osteopath can help to relieve pain and suffering in the head and neck utilising techniques such as soft tissue massage and gentle manipulation of the spine and joints.
These techniques work to improve the mobility of the cervical spine, increase circulation in the tissues in the neck, correct alignment, decrease muscular tension and reduce nerve irritation.
Rehabilitation suggestions and advice can also be provided to address common triggers such as poor posture, stress, workplace ergonomics, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle in order to move more towards preventing future recurrence.
Osteopaths will always assess each person on an individual basis and advise on the best course of action for the specific symptoms, this may include a series of Osteopathic treatments, referral to your GP, or other medical professionals in order to achieve maximum benefit.
What Can I Expect At My Appointment?
An Osteopathic consultation consists of taking a comprehensive case history, which will include discussing your current symptoms, any general health issues, any medications you may be taking and past medical history.
A preliminary physical examination of the spine and appropriate muscles and joints will be carried out to identify any unusual tightness or restrictions. Any and all findings will be discussed with you prior to carrying out any form of treatment.
Treatment can include techniques such as gentle soft tissue manipulation, spine or joint manipulation and myofascial techniques. The aim of Osteopathic treatment is to improve tissue and joint function, restoring blood flow and reducing nerve irritation in order to facilitate the body’s ability heal.
A typical Osteopathic treatment will take around 30 minutes, often patients report pain relief within 24 hours or even immediately after treatment, depending on the type of headache they present with.
Looking for help with your headache and neck pain? Please do not hesitate to contact Lorraine Herity at Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch today. Call 027 7555700 or book online.
Lorraine Herity is the Clinic Director of Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch, New Zealand. She previously worked in Osteopathic clinics in London and Ireland, before moving to New Zealand. Lorraine trained at the British School of Osteopathy in London, where she gained her Master of Osteopathy (M.Ost). Lorraine is a dedicated and passionate Osteopath. Her main aim is to help her patients regain their health, and to return her patients back to their everyday activities, in as quick a time as possible.