363 Papanui Rd, Merivale, Christchurch 8052

363 Papanui Rd, Merivale, Christchurch 8052

Can Osteopathy Help Headaches?

Published by Better Health Osteopathy on 22 March 2018, Headaches

Headaches can affect about 50% of the population in any given year. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), headaches are often poorly diagnosed and treated. Headaches can be painful and sometimes disabling, with their impact on a person’s quality of life often being underestimated.

Osteopaths are primary healthcare providers and treat many patients suffering from headaches. We often treat patients who are suffering from chronic headaches, which have been ongoing for many years. Other patients will suffer headaches for a period of a few days to a few months.

Underlying structural problems within the neck and upper back can often be the hidden cause of unexplained headaches. The nerves of the face, head, and neck can be irritated, causing neurological referred pain along the back, side, and front of the head. The associated tissues, ligaments and muscles can also be irritated, contributing to the headache.

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 endeavour to diagnose the type of headache you may have following a complete medical history and osteopathic examination. They then will treat the underlying cause of the headache to prevent these from reoccurring in the future.

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.

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.

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 by 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
  • 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.

Osteopaths will always assess each person individually and advise on the best course of action for the specific symptoms; this may include a series of Osteopathic treatments, rehabilitation exercises, referral to your GP, or other medical professionals to achieve maximum benefit.

Looking for help with your headache and neck pain? 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.