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Finding Relief from Headaches with Osteopathy

Finding Relief from Headaches with Osteopathy

Headaches are incredibly common, affecting millions of people worldwide. In fact, headaches are among the most prevalent of all nervous system disorders, with a staggering 48.9% prevalence in the general population. Many people suffer from chronic headaches, with primary headaches like migraine, tension headache, and cluster headache accounting for nearly 98% of all cases. Migraine, in particular, is a leading cause of disability, impacting over 15% of the global population and resulting in substantial socioeconomic costs.


The good news is that there is hope for those suffering from headaches. Recent research suggests that osteopathic manual therapy (OMT) can offer valuable benefits in managing and alleviating chronic headaches. In this blog, we will delve into the various types of headaches, their key features, potential causes, and how osteopathy can play a crucial role in their treatment.


Types of Headaches:


1. Hypertension Headache:

  - Key Features: Throbbing pain, typically in the back of the head.

  - Causes: High blood pressure is a primary trigger.


2. Migraine:

  - Key Features: Intense, pulsating pain, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.

  - Causes: Hormonal influences, stress, certain foods, and dehydration.


3. TMJ Headache:

  - Key Features: Jaw pain, ear aches, and headaches often centred around the temples.

  - Causes: Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues and teeth grinding can lead to these headaches.


4. Sinus Headache:

  - Key Features: Pressure and pain in the cheeks, forehead, and nasal passages.

  - Causes: Inflammation or infection of the sinuses can result in sinus headaches.


5. Tension Headache:

  - Key Features: A dull, squeezing pain that can affect the entire head.

  - Causes: Stress, poor posture, eye straining and muscular tension are common triggers.


6. Cluster Headache:

  - Key Features: Excruciating pain usually centred around one eye, occurring in clusters.

  - Causes: The exact cause is unclear, but genetics and certain lifestyle factors may contribute.


7. Cervicogenic Headache:

  - Key Features: Pain originating in the neck and radiating to the head.

  - Causes: Muscular tension, poor posture, neck injuries, or cervical spine issues can lead to cervicogenic headaches.


8. Stress Headache:

  - Key Features: Dull, persistent pain due to prolonged stress.

  - Causes: Stress and anxiety are the primary culprits.


Research has shown that patients suffering from headaches can benefit from osteopathic manual therapy (OMT). Osteopathic practitioners use gentle, hands-on manipulation to release tension in the muscles and fascia, promoting relaxation and improved blood flow. This approach can help alleviate the muscle tension and stress that contribute to many headaches.


Suffering from chronic headaches can significantly impact your quality of life. While various factors can trigger headaches, from stress to underlying medical conditions, osteopathic manual therapy offers a promising avenue for relief. By addressing the root causes of headaches, osteopathy can provide patients with effective and holistic headache management, reducing the reliance on medication and improving their overall wellbeing. If you suffer from headaches, consider consulting a practitioner to explore how osteopathy may help you find relief from the pain and discomfort of headaches.



Reference List:


Ahmed F. (2012). Headache disorders: differentiating and managing the common subtypes. British journal of pain6(3), 124–132.

Cerritelli, F., Lacorte, E., Ruffini, N., & Vanacore, N. (2017). Osteopathy for primary headache patients: a systematic review. Journal of pain research10, 601–611.

Jara Silva, C. E., Joseph, A. M., Khatib, M., Knafo, J., Karas, M., Krupa, K., Rivera, B., Macia, A., Madhu, B., McMillan, M., Burtch, J., Quinonez, J., Albert, T., & Khanna, D. (2022). Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment and the Management of Headaches: A Scoping Review. Cureus,14(8),e27830.