Headaches are an extremely common complaint, suffered by nearly everybody at some point or another. There has been a great deal of research into the causes of headaches to try to identify treatment methods. The difficulty in isolating the origins of a headache comes from the fact that brain tissue itself is insensitive to pain, but nearly all of the other structures within the head and upper neck, e.g., eyes, ears, nasal sinuses, skin, muscle, and joints and arteries are highly pain sensitive. This means that disorders in any of these structures may be experienced as a form of headache.
Osteopaths spend the time to take a thorough history, ensuring accurate diagnosis of the cause of your headaches. We work in conjunction with other medical professionals, and can also refer directly for further testing if required.
The most common types of headaches include tension-type headaches, migraines, and neck muscle or joint dysfunctions. Particularly common are postural problems in desk-based workers that lead to muscle and joint tightness at the base of the skull. We use a variety of techniques including massage, stretching, mobilization and manipulation to address the underlying cause of the headache. I have included an example of a stretch and an exercise that you can do at the desk or in the car which can help to reduce the tightness and pain associated with a headache originating from the neck.
Try the following stretches at home to help relieve muscle tightness after a long day!
Note: These are a guide only. Please consult your Osteopath if you have any difficulties.
1. Neck Stretch
Sitting in a chair, look down on a 45 degree angle towards the left armpit. Use the left hand upon the back of the head to gently add extra leverage. Hold for 20 seconds, and then return to the neutral position. Repeat on the right side.
2. Shoulder Shrug
Slowly and gently lift and roll the shoulders up, then down and back. Repeat 10 times to increase circulation and reduce ache.
Sleep tight. Sleep Right!
Sleep is not only important for our beauty but it also helps us stay healthy. It has been reported by Scientists that insomnia can lead to health problems which include heart disease, high blood pressure and weight gain.
Try this technique if you are having trouble sleeping at night.
For a couple of weeks record a sleep diary, tracking actually how many hours of sleep you get each night. If on average it is 6 hours and you have to rise at 6am then go to bed at midnight. Try this for a week and then gradually go to bed 15 minutes earlier the next week. Repeat this process until you find the bedtime which allows you to get the most sleep (without the tossing and turning). Hopefully this will allow you to wake up feeling refreshed.
If you are unable to attend your appointment (for whatever reason) we certainly appreciate at least 24 hours notice, in order to offer your time to another patient.
In the event that we receive no notification of your cancellation, be it a no show or failing to provide us with 24 hours notice, and this occurs on more than two (2) occasions, we will unfortunately have to bill you a cancellation fee ($35 as of 01.01.12) on the third offence.