Headaches and Migraine Osteopathic Treatment

headache and osteopathy

There are many different causes of headaches, but they are usually divided into three categories; ‘migraine headaches’, ‘tension-type headaches’ and ‘cervicogenic headaches’.

Migrainous headaches can be caused by many different factors of which a few can be helped through the use of gentle osteopathic techniques. 

The gentle treatment to the upper cervical spine can help reduce some of the irritation through the base of the skull and so reduce the intensity of the migraine itself. 

Other treatments that have been found to help are through the use of cranial osteopathy.


References:

Nelson CF, Bronfort G, Evans R, Boline P, Goldsmith C, Anderson AV: The efficacy of spinal manipulation, amitriptyline and the combination of both therapies for the prophylaxis of migraine headaches. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1998, 21: 511-519.
Lawler SP, Cameron LD: A randomized, controlled trial of massage therapy as a treatment for migraine. Ann Behav Med 2006, 32: 50-59.


Tension-type headaches are the most common form of headaches and they are usually caused by an irritation in the neck which can then refer pain into the head itself.  This is usually as the result of poor posture or stiffness further down the spine itself.  Tension-type headaches usually respond well to osteopathic treatment through changing posture and releasing some of the tension in the cervical and thoracic spine.  Then with a few simple self-help exercises long term relief should be possible.

Anybody who does not however respond to treatment or shows abnormal neurological signs will be referred immediately to their GP or a specialist for further investigation and treatment as necessary as the correct management of headaches are essential.


References:

Bove G, Nilsson N: Spinal manipulation in the treatment of episodic tension-type headache: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 1998, 280: 1576-1579.
Bronfort G, Nilsson N, Haas M, Evans R, Goldsmith CH, Assendelft WJ et al.: Non-invasive physical treatments for chronic/recurrent headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2004, CD001878.


Cervicogenic headaches are specific headaches that are caused by an irritation of the trigeminal nucleus by an irritation of one of the joints in the upper cervical spine; this can then cause pain and other symptoms into the head and sometimes even the face.  These headaches are relatively rare but if correctly diagnosed can respond well to osteopathic treatment because by reducing the irritation of the nerve root in the upper cervical spine the pain is reduced.


References:

Bronfort G, Nilsson N, Haas M, Evans R, Goldsmith CH, Assendelft WJ et al.: Non-invasive physical treatments for chronic/recurrent headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2004, CD001878.
Hall T, Chan HT, Christensen L, Odenthal B, Wells C, Robinson K: Efficacy of a C1-C2 self-sustained natural apophyseal glide (SNAG) in the management of cervicogenic headache. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2007, 37: 100-107.
Jull G, Trott P, Potter H, Zito G, Niere K, Shirley D et al.: A randomized controlled trial of exercise and manipulative therapy for cervicogenic headache. Spine 2002, 27: 1835-1843.
Nilsson N, Christensen HW, Hartvigsen J: The effect of spinal manipulation in the treatment of cervicogenic headache. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1997, 20: 326-330.


headache and recovery

Book An Osteopathic Appointment

Book a visit to our Cardiff or Penarth clinic by calling us now on: 029 2070 8350
or leave us a note below for us to call you back.

If you are unsure about how we can help you, the best way is to talk to us to find out.
We are just a phone call away, so do call us now.