Osteopathy and headache

Calling all headache sufferers

If you suffer with headaches and/or migraines, you’re certainly not alone. Headaches are so common that according to the World Health Organization, almost one in twenty adults have a headache nearly every day.

The Global Burden of Disease Survey, 2010 described migraines as the third most prevalent disorder worldwide. So if you’re not frequently and frustratedly rubbing your eyes to try and dull the pain, it’s very likely that the person next to you is.

What are headaches?

Headaches come in many varieties, but the two most common types are migraines and tension headaches. Not sure which you’re suffering from? There’s lots of information available on the International Headache Society’s website. If you’ve been diagnosed with, or suspect that you suffer with either type of headache, you don’t need me to tell you that either kind can be very debilitating, especially if you are afflicted regularly.

Painkillers and other pharmaceuticals are often the go-to option used to relieve the pain and disruption associated with headaches, but as osteopaths and soft tissue therapists, we’d like to offer a different perspective.

Both tension headaches and migraines are associated with increased tension of the neck and head muscles, abnormal range of motion of the joints of the neck and head, stress and psychological factors.

How osteopathy can help your headache

Osteopathy uses soft tissue, mobilisation and manipulation to relieve the tension in your neck muscles and head to restore normal movement of the associated joints. This will relieve the symptoms of your headache, and deal with those pesky tight muscles that contributed towards it.

Increased tension of the muscles in your neck and head doesn’t come from nowhere, and you can do more than you might realise to help yourself prevent more headaches. Long hours sitting in the same position at a desk, poor posture and repetitive movements can all cause the muscles in your neck, shoulders and head to become overused, tired and restricted. This can not only give you a headache, but it can also cause the rest of your body to compensate for the restricted movement in your head and neck and lead to problems elsewhere, such as shoulder, arm and wrist pain, or even lower back pain.

As osteopaths, we can assess your posture and movement and then aim to find and relieve the root cause of your problem, ease the pain and discomfort and then recommend the best ways to prevent it from returning. Prevention might be achieved with postural advice, direction towards proper movement and stretching, or even ways to reduce your stress levels and improve your wellbeing.

Don’t just put with headaches…

There is no reason why you should put up with pain when help is at hand

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