Osteopathy: an effective approach to headache treatment
The most common type of headache originates from muscle stiffness or joint strain in the neck and upper thoracic region. Other causes include:
- eye strain
- sinus congestion
- whiplash injury
- poor posture
- jaw imbalance and teeth grinding
- allergies and food intolerances.
Your osteopath can help to:
- improve your general mobility
- improve the mobility of your ribs and thoracic and cervical spine
- reduce muscular tension, nerve compression and inflammation
- improve blood supply and drainage to and from the head and neck
- advise on posture, exercise and stretching to help prevent a recurrence of symptoms
- offer guidance on diet and hydration
- advise on improving the ergonomics of your home or workplace.
Osteopaths, as primary healthcare practitioners, are trained to differentiate between headaches with common causes and those due to serious pathology. You should always seek advice from a health professional if you get a headache after a head trauma and/or the headache is getting worse.
You should also seek professional advice if the headache is accompanied by:
- nausea or vomiting
- bleeding or fluid draining from the nose or ears
- blurred vision or speech
- numbness, tingling or paralysis.
If you get regular headaches, try keeping a headache diary
Headaches can range from tension-type headaches through to debilitating migraines. If you experience headaches regularly, keeping a headache diary can help identify these triggers and ultimately help to avoid them. Some people may worry that their headache has a serious underlying cause, but for the vast majority of headaches, there isn’t a serious cause. X-rays or other imaging tests are very rarely required. A headache diary allows you to record important details about your headaches, such as symptoms, frequency and other factors that may be contributing to their onset. If you are keeping a headache diary, take it along to your appointment with your osteopath to discuss with them.
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