Headaches and migraines are a very common ailment. In allopathic medicine there is often no identifiable cause and patients are given prescriptions for medication to relieve pain. The tablets do not change the trigger of the symptoms and, additionally, painkiller often cause side effects. Many patients do not want to take tablets and they are looking for an alternative solution.
It can be very stressful for patients when for no apparent reason headaches develop into migraines. A migraine attack, which occurs most of the time unilateral, can be associated with a very complex set of symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, blurred vision and tinnitus or sensitivity to noise and light. It can also lead to sensitivity disorders and problems with balance. The so called “aura” is a typical sign of migraines. These are disturbances in perception in the eyes.
Headache and migraine can have different root causes such as tight muscles, restrictions in the vertebra bones, hormonal changes, accidents/traumas, food intolerance, change of weather, stress and disbalance in the jaw.
In my practice I often see patients with headaches and migraines related to dysfunctions in the cervical spine especially restrictions in the Atlas, the first vertebra bone. High tone in the neck and back muscles, and tension in the skull bones and meninges, can also cause headache and migraine. These symptoms could be caused also by tension in the abdomen, gut and bowel or even the pelvic bones and the sacrum. Nerves and blood vessels can be pinched by misalignment of those structures which can lead to these symptoms.
Beside the physical problems there may be other problems which can also lead to migraine and headache such as drinking too little fluids, lack of relaxation in a hectic daily routine or consuming flavour enhances such as glutamate which can make the symptoms worse. A trained osteopath will discuss these and other possible factors with the patient to enable the patient to achieve a fundamental and lasting improvement in their symptoms.
It sounds very complex because it is very complex. Osteopaths use senses in their hands to search for restrictions in the whole body. This is one of the strengths of osteopathy: we can find disorders and tension in the whole body with the hands and we look at the body as a whole. Everything in our body is connected by fascia, connective tissues, and a restriction in your foot after a strain, for example, could cause symptoms in a totally different area such as head and neck.
Using a very gentle approach osteopaths can ease tensions and restrictions in the muscles, spine, and skull. Treating these structures and any other underlying dysfunctions can have a very positive effect on migraines and headaches. Of course, other possible causes should be investigated such as psychological tension, hormonal status, diet and, if considered necessary, a scan may be recommended to rule out possible tumors or internal bleeding.
It is important for the patient to know that this is an individual therapy in which the patient should be prepared for possibly a treatment period of several weeks. Cooperation between patient and practitioner is decisive for recovery. Working together, a successful migraine treatment can often be achieved.