We all know how uncomfortable headaches can be, and how they can make a day at work that much harder to survive or ruin a weekend at home. And how much worse are they when they last a few days, or keep returning just when you think you are free of them?
Many of us will suffer from occasional headaches. Usually, dehydration, hunger or stress are triggers for them, and they will ease off when you next eat, drink or go home after work (although those of you with young children probably have a slightly different experience…). But these types of headaches are manageable, and often don’t require any treatment apart from the occasional painkiller.
Long term or recurrent headaches
However, some people may suffer from more long-term, recurrent headaches. These can often last a lot longer and aren’t eased by food or drink. They sometimes aren’t even relieved with medication. Indeed, some people will be unlucky enough to suffer from migraine headaches – severe, painful headaches that can last up to three days, and come with nausea and sensitivity to light.
Understanding the cause
When it comes to treating headaches, it unfortunately isn’t as simple as you might hope. The exact cause of many headaches isn’t fully understood. In fact, migraines have been attributed to food, stress, office lighting and air conditioning, and even an inherited gene. Which makes finding and removing the specific triggers difficult.
Tackling the symptoms
Luckily, most headaches have several physical symptoms in common with each other. While removing the cause of the headache would be best, the difficulty in finding those specific triggers means that tackling the associated symptoms is usually the easiest way of providing relief. By finding the areas of tension or restriction that may be influencing a headache, we can reduce the symptoms, provide some pain relief, and offer a way to reduce the immediate impact of your headache.
So how can we help? Here at Mid Sussex Ostepaths, we are happy to be able to offer acupuncture as well as osteopathy. When dealing with headaches, the muscles of the upper neck are often involved. Acupuncture offers a direct and effective way of working into these muscles, releasing tension and offering short term relief that in most cases is almost immediate. Using this approach also means that areas slightly further away – such as the shoulders, upper or lower back – that can also influence tension in the neck can be treated at the same time, maximising the benefits of your treatment.
Finding and treating the physical problems can help to reduce pain levels, and the length of time you are affected by your headaches. And a few simple suggestions for exercises, stretches and lifestyle changes may also help to prevent headaches from being as bad in the future. By knowing what the signs are. and what areas are affected, you can regain some control over your headaches, and will know how best to reduce your pain.
A combined approach
By combining acupuncture with osteopathic techniques to relieve immediate symptoms, and offering advice, exercise and stretching suggestions for future management, we can offer a comprehensive way of tackling long-standing or recurrent headaches and migraines. Whether you have been suffering for years or only a few days, come and see us to discuss how we can help.