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Headaches and Migraines

Headaches are one of the most common medical complaints and are rarely caused by a serious underlying disease.  However for those who suffer regular headaches and migraines than can have a significant impact on their daily lives.

The most common type of headache originates from tension, muscle stiffness or joint strain in the neck and upper thoracic region* (world health organisation factsheet #277)

Other causes of headaches include:

  • eye strain
  • sinus congestion
  • whiplash injury
  • stress
  • poor posture
  • jaw imbalance and teeth grinding
  • infection
  • allergies and food intolerances.

In addition to Osteopathic and massage treatments, other ways to help avoid tension type headaches include; trying to participate in regular relaxation exercises such as yoga, getting plenty of rest and ensuring your workstation is correctly set up to avoid postural strain. Click here to find out how to set up your workstation.

Migraines are usually more intense than headaches and can be described as a throbbing pain that is commonly on one side of the head. Migraines can cause sensitivity to light, visual disturbances, nausea and dizziness. They can last for several hours or even days. Migraines are often multi-factorial, meaning there are several contributing factors.  These contributing factors can have a cumulative effect where they build up together to trigger a migraine. Factors may include mechanical restrictions in the head and neck, poor sleep, certain foods or drinks, prolonged tension, stress or a family history of migraine. To help avoid migraines try to stay clear of trigger foods, try to get plenty of sleep and exercise regularly.

Osteopathic treatment for headaches and migraines aims to address any restrictions in the structures of the body such as tension in the neck, shoulders, base of the skull and jaw that may be contributing to the issue. The Osteopath will also check for any imbalances in your posture that could be causing the pain.

Massage is also beneficial to help reduce muscle tension and may help improve the body’s ability to deal with stress and thus be a useful tool in helping to manage headaches and migraines.

Please see our research page for information on supporting studies.