416 Ilam Road, Fendalton, Christchurch 8052

Clinic Hours: Monday - Friday 7am - 8pm

416 Ilam Road, Fendalton, Christchurch 8052

Clinic Hours: Monday-Friday 7am-8pm

Can Osteopathy Help Headaches?

Published by Better Health Osteopathy on 22 March 2018, Headaches

At Better Health Osteopathy, our osteopaths specialise in treating headaches in adults and children. Headaches are a common ailment that can impact approximately 50% of the population within a given year. Our highly skilled osteopaths have the expertise to accurately assess the type of headache and determine the most appropriate treatment plan. Many of our patients have suffered from chronic headaches that have persisted for several years, while others experience episodic headaches lasting from a few days to a few months.

Unravelling the underlying causes and effectively managing these headaches can often prove challenging within the medical system. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the diagnosis and treatment of headaches are often inadequate. Therefore, these painful and sometimes disabling headaches can profoundly impact patients’ personal and professional lives.

Osteopathic treatment of headaches

How Can An Osteopath Help With Headaches?

Our Osteopaths have successfully treated many patients suffering from chronic and acute headaches. The osteopathic approach to treating headaches varies significantly from that of other healthcare providers. Our professional osteopathic experience has shown that structural issues within the neck, jaw, back and pelvis can often be the root cause of unexplained headaches.

Therefore, a detailed examination of not only the neck but the entire back, pelvis and peripheral joints is essential to identify the structures that irritate the nerves in the neck that lead to headaches. Irritation of the nerves in the face, head, and neck can then generate neurological referred pain along various regions of the head, including the back, sides, and front. Concurrent irritation of associated tissues, ligaments, and muscles further contributes to the onset of headaches.

Our skilled osteopaths can effectively alleviate pain and discomfort associated with headaches through techniques like soft tissue massage and gentle manipulation and articulation of the spine and joints.

We will provide a comprehensive diagnosis by conducting a thorough medical history and an osteopathic examination of the entire spine and peripheral joints. By identifying the specific type of headache, we can direct our attention toward treating the root cause, thereby mitigating the likelihood of recurrence in the future.

Our osteopaths are committed to delivering exceptionally high levels of care to alleviate headaches and improve our patient’s well-being. By addressing underlying structural issues and their associated effects, we strive to empower individuals to manage their headaches more effectively and regain control over their lives.

Symptoms of Headaches

Headaches can manifest in various ways, with pain occurring in different areas of the head. It can be localised to the front, back, and sides or present as a widespread sensation throughout the head. The nature of the pain can also vary, with some people describing it as a dull ache while others experience a sharp or throbbing sensation. Sometimes our patients can feel a stabbing pain within or behind their eyes.

In addition to the pain, headaches can be accompanied by various other symptoms. Nausea and sometimes vomiting are common symptoms that may accompany a headache, particularly in more severe cases. Jaw or neck pain is another symptom associated with certain headaches, such as tension or cervicogenic headaches.

Dizziness or a feeling of light-headedness can occur alongside a headache, further adding to the discomfort. Visual disturbances, ranging from blurred vision or sensitivity to light, may also be present, to seeing flashing lights or experiencing temporary vision loss.

Headaches can also contribute to discomfort in other areas of the body. Some individuals may experience tension or tightness in the neck and shoulder muscles, which can radiate from the head. Additionally, general aches and pains may be present throughout the body, possibly due to muscle tension or the overall impact of the headache on the individual’s well-being.

It’s important to note that not all these symptoms will necessarily accompany every headache. The specific combination and intensity of symptoms can vary depending on the type and underlying cause of the headache.

What Kind Of Headache Do I Have?

Not all headaches are the same; their different symptoms define different types of headaches. 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 they are caused by tension and strain to muscles and joints in the neck. These types of headaches are often also 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. 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 result from dehydration, eye strain, withdrawal symptoms, caffeine, medication overuse, infections, hormonal fluctuations, hypertension, concussion and sinus issues, and numerous other causes.

osteopathic treatment of headaches

What Techniques Will An Osteopath Use To Help My Headache?

Osteopaths utilise several different types of techniques to help address the symptoms of headaches. These techniques can include soft tissue massage and gentle manipulation and articulation of the spine and joints.

These techniques aim to:

  • Improve the mobility of the cervical spine
  • Increase circulation in the tissues in the neck and spine
  • Correct any alignment issues within the neck, back and pelvis
  • Decrease muscular tension
  • Reduce nerve irritation

To prevent future recurrence, we will also provide rehabilitation programmes and advice to address common triggers such as poor posture, stress, workplace ergonomics, nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle.

6 Top Tips When Suffering From Headaches

  1. See your Osteopath, who will help diagnose and treat your headache.
  2. Use warm or cold compresses to your head or neck.
  3. Manage stress levels; stress can exacerbate pain levels and further tighten the joints and muscles in your neck.
  4. Check your pillow; a well-fitted pillow is important to support your neck and ensure a good night’s sleep.
  5. Exercise can help to regulate pain and keep you fit and strong.
  6. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen can help ease inflammation. Talk to your GP about medication if required.

Osteopathic treatment of headaches

Osteopathy is, therefore, a highly effective treatment modality for headaches and can improve the quality of life of those affected. By recognising that underlying structural problems within the neck, jaw, back and pelvis can often be the cause of unexplained headaches, osteopaths can provide targeted treatment to address these root issues.

Through a comprehensive examination and personalised care, osteopaths strive not only to alleviate current headaches but also prevent their recurrence in the future. Our patients can experience long-lasting relief and regain control over their lives with osteopathic treatment.

If you’re tired of living with persistent headaches and are seeking a long-lasting solution, you should reach out to Osteopaths for help. You can easily book an appointment online and begin your journey towards a headache-free life.

Looking for help with your headache? Please do not hesitate to contact our Osteopaths at Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch today. Call 027 7555700 or book online.

Better Health Osteopathy

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. Lorraine is also a clinic tutor on the Osteopathic Course in Ara and relishes the opportunity to teach the next generation of osteopaths.