Osteopathy and headaches


Headaches and Osteopathy

Recently on the BBC there has a been a programme (Doctor in the house) that showed how a lady with long standing and very painful headaches was greatly helped by a course of hands on manual therapy.

This certainly can be the case for the right type of headache.  In this example the lady had upper neck dysfunction thought to relate back to a car accident many years before.  The changes in how her neck had worked and supported it’s self had led to irritation of nerves that come out from the top of the neck and travel over the head.  When these nerves (Greater Occipital nerves) are affected in this way it can lead to a neuralgia, i.e. nerve pain.  Commonly this pain will be one sided and often end up above or around the eye.  Osteopathic treatment can work very well in addressing the mechanical aspects of the neck dysfunction and stop the irritation of the nerve at its source.

As in the above example previous trauma can play its part (such as car accidents or bad falls etc) or they can result from a build up of tension in the upper neck relating to posture or stress.

There are many different causes to headache and some are certainly more serious and need medical assessment.  If you had other symptoms such as changes to your vision (particularly double vision), dizziness, nausea / vomiting, problems with speech or if the pain is very severe for no apparent reason then you should seek medical advice first.  Thankfully only a very small proportion of headaches relate to serious underlying causes.