Did you know that at any given time 15% of Australians are taking pain-killers for a headache (Australian Bureau of Statistics 1995). It shows that you are not alone in your suffering. Our approach can provide you with BOTH instant relief & long-term solutions.
I am one of the stats. I never used to leave my house without nurofen plus in my bag (just in case). Sound familiar?
Do you end up squinting because of your eye headache?
Maybe you sit there stretching your neck every which way?
Another is when you open and close your jaw to try and change the headache?
Headaches are a complaint many of us share. Luckily they are often short-lived. But for some people head pain can be chronic and debilitating. Over-the-counter medications may provide immediate relief (but often temporary), and they also have unwanted side-effects like nausea and constipation. Osteopathy may be a great alternative and complementary option for headaches and migraines sufferers.
Most headache pain we experience is from irritated nerve endings in inflamed and tight muscles. So when we experience headaches, it is generally from muscles of the face, head, neck and shoulders. Some research shows that this is true in 90% of cases! Other factors such as high blood pressure, menstrual cycle, emotional stress, sinus congestion and dehydration can further increase the likelihood and intensity of headaches.
As so many headaches are caused by tension and poor posture, osteopathy may be your ideal choice to provide you with relief. Prolonged muscle tightness in the neck leads to compression of your joints, which causes pain.
As stated above, many headaches are felt when anything irritates the nerves of the neck, face, and/or skull. This can be from:
Jaw problems (known as TMJ dysfunction)
Trigger points in muscles
And some more sinister causes such as brain tumours, haemorrhage, infections, vessel blockages.
Symptoms associated with sinister headaches include nausea/vomiting, dizziness, blood or fluid draining from the ears/nose, numbness/tingling, altered speech, fever, visual disturbance. If you are experiencing these symptoms with your headache, please seek the advice of your GP.
Our Osteopaths are trained to differentiate between sinister headaches and those suitable for Osteopathic treatment. If we suspect a more serious cause, we refer immediately.
How will an Osteopath treat my headaches?
Osteopathic treatment is made up of direct massage to the muscles and mobilising the joints of your neck and spine. We will work into the nitty-gritty tight bits and release them off around the jaw and base of your skull. By stretching out muscles & supporting ligaments, muscle spasm relaxes usually allowing easier movement.
This study shows how Osteopathy and relaxation techniques were more effective at reducing headache symptoms than relaxation techniques alone. Click here.
Osteopaths will go a step further and search for the reasons behind the neck stiffness, which more often than not is a result of repetitive postures causing upper back and shoulder restriction ultimately increasing pressure on the neck.
Hot tips to help manage your headaches:
- Drink plenty of water
- Stretch regularly (particularly chest, shoulders and neck)-we can teach you how to do this!
- Get advice on workstation ergonomics
- Change your position regularly (eg. get out of your chair frequently)
- Avoid poor postures outside work hours (e.g laptop on lap, slouching on couch)
By identifying all the factors that cause you headaches, we will tailor your treatment and your self-management, potentially for lasting results!
COMMON TYPES OF HEADACHES
Cervicogenic headache (neck problem causing the headache)
Cluster headache (usually 20-40 y/o males with sharp jab headaches)
TMJ related headaches (jaw headaches)
We take a multifaceted approach to your migraine and help you get a better understanding of your condition. This involves minimising the effect of triggers for a migraine, postural changes and releasing tension from areas that can contribute to the intensity of migraines (the jaw joint or TMJ, upper cervical and thoracic spine which directly affect the blood flow to the head, and the sensitivity of the nerves inside your head).
Osteopaths can work together with the migraine medication prescribed by your doctor or naturopath and can alter their techniques to your level of comfort.
Treatment focuses on the structural elements of the problem: looking at and alleviating tension in the muscles of the neck and shoulders, as well as around the base of the skull and the jaw. We also examine your posture and look at any imbalances in the body caused by growth, work, illness, injury or habit. A lot of these things can be modified, if not eradicated, which may provide long-term headache relief and management.
It is important to get the right diagnosis so you can receive the appropriate treatment for your specific condition. Osteopaths are able to differentiate the cause by taking a detailed history followed by a thorough examination of your movements.