How does Osteopathy Help Relieve the Symptoms of Headaches

According to the World Health Organization, half of all adults suffer from a headache disorder (defined as experiencing a headache at least once a year). Indeed, family physicians have ranked headaches as the third most common complaint from their patients. Migraines, the most intense headache symptom, affects 13 percent of adults in the U.S – a total of 37 million people.

Despite these facts, conventional medicine is still failing to provide patients with effective management of headache disorders. Typically, patients suffering from chronic headache disorders – defined as suffering from a headache for 15 or more days per month – are treated with over the counter medications such as Tylenol, or Opioids in more severe cases. Studies have that shown that such treatment optio ns only provide temporary relief and can lead to complications such as addiction and abuse. As a result, patients have been seeking out alternative treatments, such as Osteopathy.

Types of Headaches

Tension – The most common type of headache. Most patients describe a mild or moderately painful sensation originating from the front or the back of the head. Such headaches can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several days at a time, and can be chronic in nature. Typically, tension headaches are caused by muscle tension in the neck or and shoulders.

Migraines- A moderate to severe headache. Patients typically describe an intense ‘pulsing’ sensation emanating from one side of the head. This pain is usually accompanied with other symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.

How Osteopaths Treat Headaches

Unlike other medical practitioners, Osteopaths offer holistic assessment and treatment. Osteopaths believe that when one part of the body is compromised, another must compensate, leading to inflammation, pain, and other health conditions. Additionally, unlike the mediocre results achieved from pharmaceutical and surgical treatments, Osteopaths opt for non-invasive such as Soft Tissue Manipulation.

When consulting with a patient, an Osteopath will conduct an assessment to gauge the frequency and severity of the headache. The Osteopath will also perform a thorough physical exam to identify the root causes or precipitating factors involved. Upon completion of the initial assessment, treatment options can commence. The Osteopath then proceed to directly target the underlying cause of the symptoms so has to provide both relief from current symptoms and prevent future episodes as well.

The Osteopath can directly address the muscle tension and fluid blockages causing headaches with an array of treatments, including massage, lymphatic draining, and occipital decompression. As the muscles relax and fluid balance is restored, headache suffers almost always find pain relief and relaxation.

A recent study demonstrated that osteopathic treatments were equally as effective as pharmaceutical options for relief of tension headaches. Another study found patients given spinal manipulation therapy (a technique employed by osteopaths) received similar pain relief as they would from taking Amitriptyline – a commonly prescribed drug with significant side effects.

Given the mediocre results headache sufferers have been receiving from such dangerous medication, it’s time for more patients to try the proven results Osteopathy has to offer.

John Corfield