Anyone who has had a headache knows too well how debilitating they can be. However, as we all know, most headaches are not life-threatening. There are many different types of headache and two of the most common presentations I see in my clinical practise fall into the following two groups:
- Tension-type headache
- Migraine headache
- Pressure and/or tightness around both sides of the head and/or neck
- Mild to moderate pain that tends t be steady and not throbbing in character
- Pain that is NOT made worse with physical activity
- Tenderness affecting the muscles of the head and neck/shoulder area
Sufferers of this type of headache tend to experience stress or tension prior to their headache onset.
This type of headache causes moderate to severe pain made worse by light, noise and motion. Other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sounds are often experienced. Sometimes sufferers experience a visual aura. These headaches can last several hours, and even several days in some cases.
Some of the following may act as triggers for migraine headaches
- Certain foods and beverages
- The menstrual cycle
- Emotional stress and tension
- Lack of sleep
How can manual therapy help your headache?
In the case of tension-type headaches and often with a migraine-type of headache there is a marked musculoskeletal element which can be a significant causal aggravating factor. A typical migraine can be caused by faulty mechanics affecting the upper cervical spine (neck). In an audit of 70 patients, a total of 66 had marked mechanical dysfunction in their upper neck and tension in the muscles at the base of the skull (Barlow 1982). The correction of the mechanical dysfunction through manipulation often produces marked reduction in symptoms (Langley 1987).
What we can do at the Lloyd’s Wellbeing Centre
If you suffer from headaches (tension type or migraines) our osteopaths can assess your neck for the tell-tale signs of mechanical dysfunction. Tension within the soft tissues around the neck and shoulders can also be identified. Treatment will focus on reducing any tensions and addressing any spinal dysfunction to reduce you headache symptoms.
Free 15 minute assessment
If you suffer from headaches and would like to discuss your symptoms with one of our practitioners, then get in touch with us to book a free consultation.
Langley H (1987) Migraine. The British Naturopathic Journal and Osteopathic Review. Autumn 1987.
Barlow A (1982). Manual of Osteopathic Practice.