Know Your Headaches
Dr Nick Crameri (Osteopath)
Be it via University/ High School exams or just a busy lead up to Christmas, late November can see a rise in the frequency and intensity of headaches. Though many come and go, it’s important to understand the key signs and symptoms of the specific types of troublesome headaches and how to manage them.
With pain presenting as a band across the forehead, temples and shoulders that originates from the neck muscles, tension type headaches commonly affect those dealing with stress or anxiety. Occurring daily and worsening in the evening, the pain can feel like a steady ache or vice over the affected areas.
Caused from substantial tension in the neck impinging the first three nerves exiting the spinal column, patients experiencing this form of headache respond best to soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation and stretching. Emanating from the base of the skull and referring deep into the head, this presentation mimics tension-type headaches very closely.
A classic cluster headache involves extreme short, sharp bursts of pain presenting over one side of the face at the eye, forehead or nostril. With episodes lasting anywhere between 1-2 hours over 3-8 weeks, treatment is best sought via the GP for medication, in combination with stretching and mobilising affected tissues.
Usually following a recent cold or infection, these headaches create substantial pressure behind the eyes and either side of the nose, making the face tender to touch. Osteopathy can provide manual techniques to clearing the sinus and surrounding muscles, best results involve the GP if medication is required to treat the underlying cause.
The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the anatomical term for the jaw. Due to strong surrounding muscles and their attachment to the skull, strains in these regions can cause symptoms that masquerade as headaches. Oftentimes the result of a long session at the dentist, pain is usually one-sided with referrals into the temples and a noticeably limited range of movement when opening the mouth.
A classic migraine usually consists of two or more of the following factors; one-sided pain, pulsing quality, moderate-severe intensity, worsening with physical activity, nausea and/or vomiting and photophobia or phonophobia. There may also be the presence of a visual or sensory aura which can be immobilising. Osteopathy can help dampen the overstimulated nervous system, however, a GP visit will help pinpoint the underlying cause if they continue to return.
If you suffer from headaches, come down to Hobsons Bay Osteopathy for a specified, tailored consult to help reduce your pain and help stop them reoccurring.