Tension headaches

This article is by Caroline Jones the osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic

Do you suffer from regular headaches?

More often than not these are caused by muscular tension and restrictions in the upper back, neck and jaw.

Causes of tension headaches:

  • poor working posture.
  • spending hours at your desk.
  • muscular strain caused by manual work.
  • ongoing stress.

Several of the muscles in your upper back and neck, such as the trapezius muscle, attach into the base of the skull (at the nuchal lines). Stresses on these attachment from strained muscles can cause pain to spread up the back of your head, and around your head into your forehead. Sometimes referred to feeling like a tight band around the head.

Treatment of cervicogenic headaches

Pain killers and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can help relieve the headaches, but will not help alleviate the cause of the problem. It is also well known that taking these drugs too frequently, more than 3 times a week, can actually cause rebound headaches as they wear off.

Your Osteopath will ask you some questions and perform an examination to rule out other possibilities and confirm that the headaches are being caused by musculoskeletal stresses and not by some other more systemic cause. Osteopathic treatment can be very successful at relieving ongoing tension headaches, often remarkably quickly using a variety of techniques to help return the tissues and joints involved back to their normal function.

If stress is playing a factor in the cause of your headaches, it can be common to subconsciously grind your teeth. This will affect the muscles in your Jaw (Temperomandibular Joint) which in itself can cause headaches. Your Osteopath is able to assess your Jaw function and its surrounding muscular tissues, and help relieve the tension in the Jaw.

An important part of successfully relieving tension headaches is to as far as possible eliminate the causative factors. Your Osteopath will assist you with how best to manage these factors and likely suggest some exercises going forward so the symptoms are less likely to return.

If you are suffering from headaches or want a more accurate diagnosis and treament plan please contact the clinic and arrange for an appointment with the osteopath in Islington, Caroline Jones.

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