The types and treatment of headaches & migraines

Most of us suffer from headaches at some point in our lives to varying degrees of severity and intensity. Causes may include muscle tension, sinus congestion, trauma, high blood pressure, pre-menstrual syndrome and, very rarely, tumours or meningitis. Most headaches are caused by muscle tension or migraines.

A brief explanation of the main types of headaches:

  • Tension headaches – sometimes called ‘cervicogenic’ headaches as they originate from the cervical spine area, these headaches present as a constant, tight ‘band’ of pain around the head caused by muscle tension in the neck and linked to periods of increased emotional stress or prolonged postural strain.
  • Migraines – thought to be vascular or neurological in origin, the pain is usually intense, one-sided, pulsating or throbbing and made worse by movement. It may be preceded by visual or sensory disturbances. Triggers such as exercise, cheese, chocolate, alcohol, travel and caffeine can be causative factors.
  • Cluster headaches – sudden, brief (up to 90 minutes), intense pain centred round one eye often combined with redness, tears, sweating and a runny nose.
  • Sinus headaches – infection or irritation causes the sinus membranes to swell and block the channels to the nose resulting in increasing pressure and compression of the facial nerve which can result in pain between the eyes and either side of the nose.

For many sufferers, it is a matter of reducing the causative and aggravating factors. Osteopathic treatment can be invaluable in reducing the pain and musculo-skeletal tension experienced by headache and migraine sufferers.  Soft-tissue massage, articulation and gentle joint releasing techniques together with cranial osteopathic techniques and modern acupuncture (as appropriate) often provide considerable if not complete relief from the patient’s headache symptoms.

Click here to read my blog article on Osteopathy and headaches.

Jan’s testimonial giving an example of Fiona’s treatment of headaches (click here for more testimonials):

“My work involves a lot of heavy lifting and carrying and as a result I have developed lots of tension and posture problems over the years. Fiona has been treating me since September 2011 and as a result I have not had a headache for months (was a daily event) and my posture has improved greatly. I still have a bit to go but have gone from weekly treatments to once a month and I have no hesitation in recommending Fiona, she is professional and friendly and I have passed her info onto patients when appropriate.”

Jan, Paramedic

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