Osteopathy and Headaches

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 15 per cent of the Australian population in 1995 were taking medication to relieve the symptoms of headaches. For many people their headaches are unbearable and have been interrupting their daily life for many years and for others it is a mild ache that resolves quickly. Your osteopaths at Eastern Osteopathy appreciate how debilitating a headache can be and the impact it can have on your life. We are passionate about helping headache suffers get their life back.

What causes a headache?

There are many causes of headaches; anything that irritates the nerves in the neck, skull, and face or even inside the skull has the potential to cause a headache. e.g. trauma to the neck, poor posture, whiplash, trigger points, dental work (TMJ dysfunction), concussion or head trauma, sinusitis, or even sinister causes such as; infection, haemorrhage, aneurysm or brain tumour.

Please note: If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms associated with your headache, please seek medical advice from your GP.

  • fever

  • nausea or vomiting

  • bleeding or fluid draining from the nose or ears

  • dizziness

  • visual disturbances

  • altered speech

  • numbness or tingling

As primary health-care practitioners, osteopaths are trained to differentiate between benign headaches and those that are due to a more serious pathology, and will refer immediately when required.

Types of headaches?

All of our osteopaths at Eastern Osteopathy have experience in treating the following types of headaches:

  • Cervicogenic headache

  • Post-concussion syndrome

  • Sinus headache

  • Tension Type headaches

  • Migraines

  • TMJ (jaw) headache

  • Cluster headache

  • Post-meningitis headache

Other considerations when experiencing headaches include:

  • Dehydration - A common symptom of a 'dehydration headache' is an increase in pain when moving your head

  • Eye strain – Headache is the most common symptom of eye strain

  • Caffeine withdrawal – Headaches usually start behind the eye and moves to the front of the head

  • Excessive Pain killers - For more information about how the overuse of pain killers can lead to headaches, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19622016

What is the aim of the osteopathic treatment?

Your osteopath at Eastern Osteopathy will take a thorough case history, conduct an osteopathic examination and if required an orthopaedic examination allowing us to identify the type of headache you are experiencing and whether a referral is required.

In most cases, the headaches will be of benign origin. Your osteopath will endeavour to identify the cause of the pain (i.e. muscle, joint, ligament), but we will also aim to understand why that area of your body is under strain. For example, many people work at a computer or have stressful jobs, but not everyone experiences headaches. We will ask the question, ‘What is happening in your body that predisposes you to headaches?’

During treatment it is often necessary to release chronic stress and strain from past injuries and trauma, particularly in your head and neck. This will not only help relieve the presenting headache, but will also reduce the chance of a recurrence.

We will also support your journey back to health by advising on posture, ergonomics, exercises and stretching. If required, we will communicate with your GP, personal trainer, yoga therapist and/or massage therapist to help develop a total health plan.

If you would like further information please call (03) 9042 0407 to speak to one of our osteopaths.