Almost everyone has experienced a headache at least once in their lifetime. However, headaches may become debilitating if the condition prevails for a longer period. The symptoms of a headache may include pain in the forehead, one sided or both sides, pain behind the eyes, aching at the back of the head or base of the skull, a band like gripping around the head and many other variations. You may also feel pressure in the neck, head, jaw or ears.
Migraines are a different type of headache, which have varying symptoms but can include sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting and changes in vision. There is a new category for migraines called cervicogenic migraine where problems in the neck trigger a migraine.
Causes of Headaches and Migraines
Headaches and migraines can be debilitating and may have many different reasons for occurring. Some of these include:
- Chronic tension and stress in the neck or shoulders
- Previous head trauma
- Jaw problems (TMJ – temporomandibular joint)
- Allergies, sensitivities or food intolerances
- Trigger points (Knots) in muscles that refer into the head.
- Facet joints (joints in the spine- in this case the neck), can refer pain into the head.
If your headache or migraine is due to a food allergy, it is possible to avoid triggers by analyzing what type of foods or diets are behind this disorder. You can make a food diary and note down all the items that cause headaches or migraines. By doing so, you can avoid such disorders in the future.
Salicylates are a common sensitivity. Other triggers may include caffeine, aged meats and cheese, alcohol, MSG (monosodium glutamate), citrus fruits, chocolate and many others. A good naturopath may be helpful if food is the trigger and most Osteopaths have a network of practitioners, including naturopaths they can send you to for further help.
However, if stress or tension is the cause of your headache or migraines, this is the area where an osteopath can assist you. At Bribie Osteopathywe aim to pinpoint the reason/s that you may be suffering from headaches and migraines. Through a thorough history taking, examination and treatment, we aim to target the main source the headache or migraine.
By identifying the basic cause or causes of a headache, we can provide the best treatment for you. Our therapeutic approaches involve soft tissue release techniques, gentle spinal realignment, osteopathy in the cranial field which releases stress and strain and may provide relief from pain by allowing the body to achieve balance.
Osteopathic Treatment for Headaches and Migraines
Bribie Island Osteopathy offers a complete treatment approach to assist with the some of the issues that may be contributing to headaches or migraines. Osteopaths study for 5 years at university with a degree and post graduate masters that covers, pathophysiology, orthopedic and neurological examination, anatomy and physiology which allows them to be able to diagnose the key areas of imbalance in your body and treat accordingly.
Osteopathic treatment is a non-invasive approach which utilizes a gentle unwinding approach to release muscle and fascial and joint tension. The aim is to improve the function and mobility of area that is restricted whether it is the head, neck, jaw, or any other area that may be contributing to pain. Releasing the stress and strain in a muscle or joint increases the blood flow and helps with inflammation and pain that may occur from stiffness and inactivity. Sometimes overusing one area creates a similar problem. Spinal realignment may be part of this, but correct function of the whole area is the main goal. This type of Osteopathic treatment is extremely relaxing as well which is a great way to address tension type headaches along with relaxation techniques and retraining the breath.
Besides, osteopaths also utilize soft-tissue and manipulation techniques to relax the head and neck muscles. Our qualified team of osteopaths are experienced enough to locate the trigger points and treat the affected muscles to relieve you from headaches.
Some of the most frequently used osteopathic techniques I use to relieve headaches and migraines are:
Cervical soft tissue massage: By employing soft tissue massage, the osteopathcan relieve the spasms of tension headache. Trigger points or tight bands in the muscle are often released with gentle, firm pressure.
Sub- Occipital Decompression: During this procedure, the osteopaths use their fingertips to stretch the paraspinal tissues located at the base of occiput. This process can help to relieve a headache that may be coming from tension in this area.
Myofascial Unwinding: It is another technique, which helps to unwind the tissues surrounded by spasm. It uses gentle sustained pressure into the Myofascial connective tissue restrictions (direct) or away from the restrictions into ease (indirect). This can in turn improve blood flow and relieve any lymphatic congestion within the tissue.
Muscle energy technique: For this technique, the patient works with the practitioner by providing resistance in a specific direction. This stretching technique restores motion, decreases muscle tone, relieves tissue tension and educates muscles by restoring symmetry and function.
Osteopathy in the Cranial field – The word “Cranial” does not mean treating just the head, the cranial rhythm is present in the whole body from when we are an embryo to when we die. Using the gentle rhythm of the body and, with light touch, cranial osteopathy is a very relaxing way to free up the cranial sutures and gently allow the body to unwind and release itself.
How Osteopathic Treatment Works for Relieving Headaches and Migraines
Osteopathy is a noninvasive and non-pharmacological treatment that provides relief from pain and discomfort in any part of the body. Our osteopathic practitioners utilize a variety of therapeutic techniques to improve the muscle movement by removing any kind of stress or strain.
For headaches due to stress or tension, osteopathy proves to be a relaxing treatment. It helps to release the tight musculature around your head and neck. By using therapeutic techniques, the osteopath improves the range of movement in the shoulders, neck, and upper back.
The patient may require several treatments to release the stress. If the problem resolves, after a few treatments, the practitioner will suggest further treatments. However, if a technique does not prove effective, the osteopath may discuss a different approach or referral where appropriate.
AtBribie Osteopathy, webelieve thatthe body can treat itself by utilizing its natural healing ability. We just provide the right conditions for to the body to heal itself. Our non-invasive therapeutic treatment may be extremely helpful in easing the pain of headaches and migraines.
If you are suffering from a migraine or headache, we may be able to help you. For more information and to book a consultation, please call us at Bribie Osteopathy on 0404 888 151 or book online 24hrs a day at bribieosteopathy.com.au