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Headache | Kew | Osteopathy

Eye Headaches – What can be done?

Written by Boroondara Osteopathy

Here I will explain what causes eye headaches and what you might do about them.

2 scenarios are the most common in causing eye headaches:

  1. tension at the base of the skull or
  2. if you have been stressed more than usual & grinding or clenching your teeth. 

Sometimes the first and most annoying symptom will be pain behind the eye and not the neck or jaw. 

The optometrist seems to be a logical place to start to determine if there’s some issue with the eye.  This can include kids complaining to mum about eye pain or eye strain.  But the pain is possibly referring from their neck or jaw.

Eye headaches are often a result of a muscular trigger point when the upper neck joints near the base of the skull are stiff and stuck.  Trigger points are super tight bundles of muscle fibres that when irritated will refer pain to another part of the body.  In the case of eye headaches it can be from neck muscles or jaw muscles tightening up and creating a headache, usually one-sided following a “rams head” referral pattern as in the pic below.

If you are feeling a really cranky eye headache on waking, quite often this is from a jaw muscle near your back teeth.  A good reflection is have you been stressed more than usual, are you grinding your teeth or holding them in a clenched position when at rest.  It’s a really common scenario.


Eye Headache | Headache | Osteopathy | Bulleen

It’s all about asking the right questions about the nature of the headache. When it’s sore, when it started and if anything in your daily activities has changed.  We work to find what is causing the neck to behave this way, looking for the most likely cause and then having a good feel around the neck and jaw to find where there are imbalances in muscle & joint tension.

Eye headaches are common and something we consider our “bread and butter” with a reduction in pain usually felt immediately after treatment. 

So if your eyes are feeling strained, sharp or dull ache, maybe you have something else going on.  Some medications can help this scenario but if you find it’s a bandaid solution and then symptoms keep coming back, a good look at your neck and jaw might reveal the answers.

You could also try some simple stretches like these ones on our website.

CLICK HERE for our Stretches page, specifically look at the “Neck – Levator Scapulae” stretch video!

You could also have a go at our most popular spine exercise called “Seated Cogs” – Click Here

If you want to see for yourself how our Osteo’s might be able to help,call 9859 5059 or book online via the button below.

S Haldeman, S Dagenais. Cervicogenic headaches: a critical review. The Spine Journal 1 (2001) 31–46

DM Biondi. Cervicogenic Headache: A review of diagnostic and treatment strategies.  The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, April 2005, Vol. 105, 16S-22S.

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