Osteopathy for Headaches, Migraine and Dizziness
As headaches are caused by a number of factors, these must be carefully considered to determine if the cause can be treated by the Osteopath.
Headaches can be brought about by many factors ranging from the more serious – brain tumours and improper joint structure on the one hand, to a number of less serious issues – stress, poor posture and loud noises, on the other. The Osteopath will examine the patient and discuss the patient’s habits in order to establish the cause, prior to the undertaking of treatment.
Manual therapy in conjunction with an exercise programme may help ease headaches. Manual therapy would be undertaken by manipulating the soft tissue in the neck and spine joints, thereby reducing stiffness in muscles. This manual treatment will have fewer side effects than the prescription of drugs.
Neck Problems that Cause Headaches, Migraine and Dizziness
Headaches may be caused by a number of factors, and for a headache to be considered as being neck related, it would be normal to experience restricted head movement and or pressure at the base of the skull. The cause for headaches is difficult to diagnose, however it is important to accurately establish the cause in order to set up a treatment programme to reduce the pain and to manage an ongoing condition, should it be necessary.
Further headaches could be associated with emotions, tension, stress, anxiety or they may be attributed to a patient’s past (where the patient may for example, have had a previous neck trauma resulting from a sports injury or whiplash suffered in a car accident).
Headaches may be the consequence of strain to those muscles at the base of the skull. There may well be several other causes, such as incorrect sleeping positions resulting from unsuitable bed mattresses and pillows.
Spinal problems may also be the cause of the headaches (discs between vertebrae, or pressure on nerves). Even arthritis may be a cause of the pain and headaches, particularly in the elderly.
How Can Osteopathy help Headaches
Headaches can be muscle related pain, for example tension, stress, anxiety, etc. The Osteopath will massage the soft tissue around the jaw, the neck and in the upper back to help relieve tight muscles and ligaments that may be associated with headaches. The relaxing of the muscles will also assist with the functions of bodily fluids.
Should the patient’s pain be the result of poor posture or the imbalance of the body’s structure, the Osteopath will massage the patient’s soft tissue and suggest how the patient should maintain correct posture. The Osteopath may also suggest exercises and stretching appropriate to assist with the avoidance of pain and to avoid long term problems.
The Osteopath is able to arrange for Acupuncture as an alternative or aid to massage. This alternative treatment can be an effective treatment for headaches and chronic pain associated with problems like back injuries and arthritis, (please refer to the section on Acupuncture/Dry Needling below).