Headaches & Migraines

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Are Headaches or Migraines a problem for you?

Have you tried Osteopathy?

As supported by the results of a 2017 systematic review, Osteopathy can assist in reducing future pain episodes and headache related disability (Cerritelli, Lacorte, Ruffini & Vanacore, 2017). Headache describes a disorder characterised by episodic or recurrent head pain. It is important to know that headaches can be due to a variety of causes. Your osteopath will complete a thorough history & examination to determine the likely cause of your headache & will refer on for further investigation if required. One of the common cause of headaches are the joints & tissues in your upper neck, which can cause referred pain to your head, felt in the form of a headache – this is where your osteopath comes in. In the article below we will take you through some of the headaches commonly treated by Osteopaths.

Tension Type Headaches Triggers:
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Poor posture at work or driving
  • Prolonged reading or screen time
Associated with anxiety or depression Typical Headache Presentation:
  • Mild to moderate dull achy pain
  • Usually felt both sides of head
  • around temporal region and/or extending across forehead
  • Pressure or tight band sensation
  • Tender scalp, neck & shoulder musculature
Cervicogenic Headaches

Cause: Dysfunction of the joints in the upper neck, which can refer pain to your head

Typical Headache Presentation:

  • Pain around the base of the skull that can radiate further up back of head, or even around the eye region
  • Usually one-sided (though can be both sides)
  • Often accompanied by neck and/or shoulder pain/tightness
Migraines

Cause: With a highly genetic component, migraines are an episodic disorder thought to be due to sensitisation of the nervous system Occur in repeated episodes of headaches attacks, with attacks lasting anywhere between 4-72hrs

Typical Headache Presentation:

  • Moderate to severe
  • One-sided
  • Often described as pulsatile or throbbing in quality
  • Associated with any of the following: nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light or sound
  • Can occur with or without an aura: short-lived neurological disturbances that can be visual, sensory or motor in nature & precede the headache

What an Osteopath will do?

  • Complete a thorough history & physical examination to determine likely cause & contributing factors relevant to your headaches ⁠
  • Work with you to develop a management plan tailored to your goals & needs
  • Use a range of hands-on techniques to address muscular tightness & joint restriction in your neck and surrounding areas.
    • These can include: soft tissue massage, stretching, dry needling, myofascial cupping and articulation/mobilisation or manipulation of joints
  • Provide exercises or stretches to help manage your pain as well as build strength in relevant areas
  • Assess & address any broader contributing or causative lifestyle factors ⁠

References Cerritelli, F., Lacorte, E., Ruffini, N., & Vanacore, N. (2017). Osteopathy for primary headache patients: a systematic review. Journal Of Pain Research, Volume 10, 601-611. doi: 10.2147/jpr.s130501 Image Credit: www.injurymap.com

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