Headaches can be debilitating and very disruptive of normal life. Most headaches are not of concern or worrying, but should you suddenly experience them for no apparent reason it is always worth getting them checked by a professional (doctor, osteopath).
If they are associated with fever or a rash, then medical attention should be sought quickly. However, osteopaths are trained to assess and examine to try and locate the cause of your headaches, especially when they are related to your musculoskeletal health. If there is anything of concern then the osteopath can always refer you to see your GP, however many headaches are caused by tension or migraine (although there are many other forms of headaches). There has been some limited research to support that manipulative treatment is of value where headaches originate from the neck or back. (Please see references at the bottom).
The table below can help you to understand the difference between tension and migraine headaches:
Whilst taking medication can be of assistance, sometimes if taken too often it can also cause rebound headaches, so if you are suffering from headaches, why not consult one of Woodside Clinic’s osteopaths and see if they can assist you in getting pain free!
All consultations will include a full case history with discussion of your symptoms and other health; a full examination which will include posture and range of movement in your neck and back.
Our osteopath may do other checks such as your blood pressure, reflexes or checking your eyes using specialized equipment. Treatment may include soft tissue massage, joint articulation, manipulation, stretches, dry needling (medical acupuncture) and much more. If your osteopath has any concerns then they will write to your GP with their examination findings.
Some studies have shown some benefits regarding the use of manipulation for headaches:
Chaibi A, Russell MB. Manual therapies for cervicogenic headache: a systematic review. J Headache Pain. 2012;13(5):351-359. A PDF of the full text of this study can be found
Posadzki P, Ernst E. Spinal manipulations for tension type headaches: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Complement Ther Med. 2012;20(4):232-239. A link to the abstract of this study can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22579436
Chaibi A, Tuchin PJ, Russell MB. Manual therapies for migraine: a systematic review. J Headache Pain. 2011;12(2):127-133. A PDF of the full text of this study can be found
Posadzki P, Ernst E. Spinal manipulations for cervicogenic headaches: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Headache. 2011;51(7):1132-9. A link to the abstract can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21649656
Miller J, Gross A, D’Sylva J, et al. Manual therapy and exercise for neck pain: A systematic review. Manual Therapy. 2010;15(4): 334-354. A link to the abstract can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20627797
Gross A, Miller J, D’Sylva J, et al. Manipulation or mobilisation for neck pain: a Cochrane Review. Manual Therapy. 2010;15(4):315-33. A link to the abstract can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20510644
Hurwitz EL, Carragee EJ, van der Velde G, Carroll LJ, Nordin M, Guzman J, Peloso PM, Holm LW, Côté P, Hogg-Johnson S, Cassidy JD, Haldeman S. TREATMENT OF NECK PAIN: NONINVASIVE INTERVENTIONS Results of the Bone and Joint Decade 2000–2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2009 Feb;32(2 Suppl):S141-75. A link to the abstract of this study can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19251061
Bronfort G, Nilsson N, Haas M, et al. Non-invasive physical treatments for chronic/recurrent headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2004;(3):CD001878. A link to the study abstract can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15266458
Bronfort G, Assendelft WJ, Evans R, et al. Efficacy of spinal manipulation for chronic headache: a systematic review. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 2001;24(7):457-66. A link to the study abstract can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11562654