• Adam Whatley

Can osteopaths help headaches?


Headaches are one of the most common symptom come across in medicine. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) state that over-medicating is a factor linked to the increasing incidence of chronic headaches. There are many types and causes of headaches, many types with overlapping symptoms.

Here at Dynamic Osteopaths we take a full history, to underpin what may be causing the headaches to occur. from here, based on a diagnostic opinion, we will come up with the best possible treatment option for you.


What headache do I have?

Diagnosis is the difficult part, but can be primarily based on the presenting symptoms and whether or no you have responded to previous treatment/medication or not yet. Cervicogenic headache often present from the neck, and pain is usually one sided referred from muscles or joints of the neck but neck pain and shoulder tension is also a common symptom of migraine sufferers. It is however thought that tension -type and cervicogenic headache suffers have more muscle involvement than migraine sufferers. Headaches due to eye-strain is also a common diagnosis but if the headache occurs in the morning it is unlikely to be due to eye-strain, more likely if the headache is during or after a days work.

How can an osteopath help?

An osteopath will take a full case history, some questions of which you may think irrelevant but this is necessary for both your safety as a patient and for the osteopath to decide whether it is treatable osteopathically or if further examinations are required by your GP or a specialist.

Some tests and an examination will follow the questioning, active and passive movements of the neck and spine, possibly blood pressure and a neurological examination if felt necessary. Treatment will begin once the osteopath is happy that your headache has a musculo-skeletal component and no red flags. Red flags are more worrying symptoms that may accompany the headache that would require referral to a GP, specialist or although uncommon to A&E, such as severe pain/worst ever headache or a rash and neck stiffness.

Osteopathic treatment is a combination of manual therapy, such as osteopathy alongside an exercise programme leading to long-term control of these tension-type headaches. It has previously been shown that manual manipulation treatment is effective for the treatment for chronic headaches, with lower side effects than prescribed drugs.

Osteopaths may use many techniques to help ease headaches, from manipulation of the neck and upper spine joints to gentle soft tissue massage , lymphatic drainage techniques, dry needling / trigger point therapy and acupuncture. Stretching exercises may be given with advice on posture correction and possibly discuss an exercise regime.


For further information please contact this LINK.

If you suffer with headaches and want to know if an osteopath can help please contact us at www.dynamicosteopaths.com or leave a comment at the end of this blog and we'll get back to you asap. For appointments please contact Dynamic Osteopaths on contact 01564 330773

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