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22nd February 2017

Headaches are the most common medical complaint worldwide. In Australia, approximately 70% of the population suffer from headaches!

The most common cause of headache:

The most common cause of headache originates from muscle tension or joint strain in the neck and upper back region. Clinical features include a dull ache over the forehead and temples, often radiating into the base of the skull and behind the eyes. It may also be associated with light-headedness, fatigue and generalised neck stiffness.

Other causes of headache include:

  • Eye strain
  • Whiplash injury
  • Sinus congestion
  • Poor posture
  • Jaw dysfunction – direct trauma, teeth grinding, joint malocclusion, post dental treatment
  • Dental problems – tooth decay/cavities, infection or abscesses
  • High blood pressure
  • Medications
  • Fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression
  • Dehydration
  • Head or neck trauma
  • Allergies and food intolerances
  • Ear dysfunction – infection, inflammation, trauma or tinnitus
  • Rarely – stroke, brain tumour, meningitis

Seek immediate professional advice when:

  • You suffer a headache after a head trauma
  • Your headache is getting worse
  • If the headache is accompanied by: fever, nausea or vomiting, bleeding or fluid draining from nose or ears, blurred vision or impaired speech, dizziness, numbness, tingling or paralysis.

Osteopathic assessment of headache:

Your Osteopath is trained to differentiate between headaches due to common causes and those due to serious pathology. On initial consultation, your Osteopath will perform comprehensive evaluation and diagnostic procedures, including orthopaedic, neurological and spinal examinations, in order to determine the cause of your headache. Further testing such as X- ray or MRI may also be required. Upon arriving at a specific diagnosis, a treatment plan will be discussed and treatment will then commence.

How can Osteopathy help?

Osteopathic treatment is extremely effective for the treatment of headaches, in particular, cervicogenic headaches (pain that is referred to the head from either bony structures or soft tissues of the neck). Using a combination of soft tissue massage, stretching, joint mobilisation and manipulation techniques, your Osteopath can:

  • Improve the mobility of your cervical and thoracic spine and ribs
  • Improve blood supply and drainage to and from the head and neck
  • Reduce muscle tension, nerve compression and inflammation

Furthermore, they will also:

  • Provide advice on posture, exercise, stretching and strengthening to help prevent recurrence
  • Offer guidance on hydration and diet
  • Provide advice on enhancing the ergonomics of your home and/or workplace

Please contact us to begin your journey towards living a life without headaches! We look forward to hearing from you!

This article is for information purposes only. Please consult your Osteopath or primary healthcare professional for further information.