Most people have suffered a headache at one point or another in their life. Some could count the number of headaches on one hand, while others it can be as frequent as every day. This condition can be recurrent and quite debilitating, as such, it is important for sufferers to educate themselves in order to seek appropriate care and management. This will minimise the impact of their headaches on their daily life. Osteopathic treatment is a manual therapy which can be very effective in reducing, if not eliminating, tension headaches.
Headaches are a common condition in society. In fact, an Australian study shows approximately 87% of the population will suffer from headaches each year. The type of headache can vary however, primarily being cervicogenic headaches (sometimes known as tension headache), migraine headaches or cluster headaches. Cervicogenic headaches accounted for approximately 82% of headaches and can affect people of any age often lasting anything from hours to days.
The term cervicogenic headache simply put, means headache originating from the neck. Osteopathic treatment for cervicogenic headaches reduces pain by relaxing the muscles and joints in the neck and back. Minimising the pressure through the neck and painful areas reduces or removes the headache and any accompanying symptoms like “brain fogginess”, blurred vision and restricted neck movement.
Symptoms of a cervicogenic headache will vary depending on the individual. Typically, the pain can be described as a dull ache, though at times it can be felt as a throbbing pain. The pain will usually be felt at the base of the skull along the hairline, behind the eyes or in the temple region. Though one side may be more painful, it is often felt on both sides of the head. Occasionally, other symptoms such as nausea or visual changes may be noticed. An Osteopathic consultation includes an assessment of the entire region including but not limited to jaw, neck and mid back, in order to determine the cause of each individual’s pain.
Osteopathic treatment includes taking a history to understand the nature of a patient’s pain as well as identifying their particular contributing factors. Osteopathic treatment consists of different approaches depending on the individual. These can include techniques such as: soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation or manipulation and muscle stretching. Gentle indirect techniques can also be used. Exercises at home and ergonomic advice can also be advised to further help manage the headaches.
If you suffer from tension headaches and wish to see how Osteopathy can help you, book an appointment at the West End Osteopathic Clinic on 07 38463037. We have appointments available Monday-Saturday.
Article Written by Dr. Luke Richter