Headaches are one of the most common medical complaints of civilized humanity. However severe headache is only infrequently caused by serious underlying disease.
Common causes of headache
Headache originating from the neck is the most common type of headache. Other varied causes are eyestrain, sinus disease, neck injury (eg whiplash), tension headache from stress, poor posture, etc., migraines, jaw misalignment (eg following dental work).
There are other more serious causes such as infection, haemorrhage and brain tumour. Osteopaths, as primary health care practitioners, are trained to differentiate between headaches with common causes and those due to pathology.
Mechanism of Tension Headaches
A common presentation with headache is an increase in the muscular tension at the base of the skull with pain locally and possibly referred to the forehead and eye area. The tightened muscles and join restrictions (from poor posture, stress, injury etc) in the upper neck, contribute to reduced mobility, and irritation of the local nerves and blood vessels.
How can Osteopathy help someone with headache?
An osteopath is a primary health care practitioner with appropriate skill and knowledge to assess your complaint and decide the most effective course of action.
Osteopaths assess structural changes that may lead to immobility and dysfunction. They do thorough physical examination including observation and palpation, to form a diagnosis.
An osteopath will work gently with your body to:
- Improve joint mobility (especially in the cervical spine)
- Reduce muscular tension
- Reduce nerve irritation
- Improve blood supply and drainage to and from the head and neck
- Help prevent future headaches with advice on posture, exercises and stretching
- Provide advice on improved ergonomic environment.
What is Craniosacral Osteopathy ?
It involves adjusting the ultra fine joints ( known as sutures ) of the cranium or skull. Although these sutures are tiny , they can become just as restricted or traumatised as any other joint in the body.
However , the therapy does n’t just involve the cranium . The principles and techniques can be applied to any joint and or tissue in the body. The craniosacral osteopath will use their hands not only to treat restrictions of tissue and joint but also alter the rhythm or flow of the cerebrospinal fluid within the cavernous sinuses of the brain to influence drainage , circulation and ease points of pressure.
It is a common choice of therapy for patients whose tissues are easily stirred up by hands on treatments or for whom the more robust elements of Osteopathy do not suit .
Cranial osteopaths undertake specialized and ongoing post graduate training in this subtle therapy.