Osteopaths treat many patients suffering from headaches. Some headaches can often come and go. Other patients can suffer from chronic headaches lasting from weeks to months to years. This can have a massive impact on quality of life. It is often 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. Periods of high emotional stress can also profoundly impact the body and can exacerbate headache symptoms.
Most people seek headache relief through over-the-counter pain medication. However, this may only provide a temporary form of relief without addressing the underlying causes of the problem. Our Osteopaths will always aim to accurately diagnose the type of headache you may have. They then treat the underlying cause of the headache to prevent these from recurring.
Symptoms of Headaches
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 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; 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 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 result from dehydration, eye strain, withdrawal symptoms, caffeine, medication overuse, infections, hormonal fluctuations, hypertension, concussion and sinus issues, and numerous other causes.
How Can An Osteopath Help My Headache?
Our 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.
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 improve the mobility of the cervical spine, increase circulation in the tissues in the neck, correct alignment, decrease muscular tension and reduce nerve irritation.
To prevent future recurrence, we will provide rehabilitation programmes and advice to address common triggers such as poor posture, stress, workplace ergonomics, nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle.
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.
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.