Headaches are one of the most common medical complains of civilised humanity, however severe headache is only infrequently caused by serious underlying disease.
Common causes of headache
Headache originating from the neck is the most common type of headache. Other varied causes are eyestrain, sinus disease, neck injury (e.g. whiplash), tension headache from stress, poor posture etc., migraines, jaw misalignment (e.g. following dental work).
There are other more serious causes such as infection, haemorrhage and brain tumour. Osteopaths, as primary health care Practitioners, are trained to differentiate between headaches with common causes and those due to serious pathology.
Mechanism of tension headaches
A common presentation with headache is an increase in the muscular tension at the base of the skull with pain locally and possibly referred to the forehead and eye area. The tightened muscles and joint restrictions (from poor posture, stress, injury etc.,) in the upper neck, contribute to reduced mobility, and irritation of the local nerves and blood vessels.
How can osteopathy help someone with headache?
An Osteopath is a primary health care Practitioner with appropriate skill and knowledge to assess your complaint and decide the most effective course of action.
Osteopaths assess structural changes that may lead to immobility and dysfunction. They do thorough physical examination including observation and palpation, to form a diagnosis.
An Osteopath will work gently with your body to:
Improve joint mobility (especially in the cervical spine).
Reduce muscular tension.
Reduce nerve irritation.
Improve blood supply and drainage to and from the head and neck.
Help prevent future headaches with advice on posture, exercises and stretching.
Provide advice on improved ergonomic environment.
Courtesy of the AOA