We all get them from time to time. Headaches affect 90% of the population at one point or another and half of us will have had one over the past year according to World Health Organisation statistics.
Normally they’re not that big a problem. We can normally pinpoint the reason for them – stress, lack of sleep, over-work, dehydration etc. Even if you don’t know why they’ve occurred, they’re not normally a big problem. Sleep, re-hydrating and/or pain killers resolve things pretty quickly.
What’s causing my headache?
Some people however struggle with regular, recurring headaches and these can be extremely debilitating. They can have a huge impact on your quality of life and affect your concentration and productivity. Some of these, such as migraines and cluster headaches, are due to an underlying condition and should be managed via your GP. However, the majority of headaches are not because of a serious condition but can be linked to several factors to do with your body and lifestyle such as:
⦁ neck and upper back problems
⦁ postural problems
⦁ eye strain
⦁ poor sleep and fatigue
⦁ hormonal changes such as those of the menstrual cycle
Osteopathy can help
There’s a group of headaches that respond really well to treatment by an osteopath. They’re called ‘cervicogenic headaches’ which basically means headaches caused by problems with the neck. In our experience, the upper back is also often involved.
These are often – but not always – headaches that run over one side of the head or feel like they’re focused at the back of the head across one or both sides.
Tight shoulders and neck?
What we often find is that tightness of the muscles and stiffness and a lack of movement in the joints of the neck and upper back can set up these headaches. This often applies to office workers, new Mums and anyone with some arthritis of the neck.
Time to loosen up
Osteopaths don’t treat conditions as such, but this is one of our favourite things to treat as people can respond so well. Once we are sure of what’s causing your headache, and are happy that is coming from the upper back and neck, then a loosening those tight muscles and stiff joints will often see a rapid easing of those headaches that can blight your daily life.
Exercises to help
Once you’re moving again, then it’s a case of keeping you moving. There’s a lot that you’ll be able to do to help yourself in terms of specific and focused stretches to keep that neck and upper back moving. We’ll be able to give you exercises that will help keep that upper back and neck moving well.
So don’t put up with regular headaches especially if you feel that they’re coming from the neck or upper back. Book an appointment or, if you’re unsure, come and see us for a free 15 minute consultation. We can quickly evaluate the neck and guide you as to whether we may be able to help.