Headache – causes and help

Headaches can be a real pain – throbbing, nagging, tension, pressure, aching. They can make everyday activities feel like they are shrouded by a dark, oppressive cloud. They can effect our concentration, our patience or our mood. Some people may suffer more than others and there can be many reasons for this. Headaches and their causes can be helped.

I thought it might be useful to share some of the causes with you. That way, if you are being troubled by headaches you might be able, quite simply, to ease your head.

Headache causes

This is definitely not a complete and comprehensive list but some of the more common headache causes:

  • Dehydration – lack of water can effect your concentration as well;
  • Teeth grinding or jaw tension – a sure sign of this can be tenderness along the tooth line after a night of clenching and grinding the teeth.  This is often caused by emotional tension;
  • Tight muscles due to poor posture at the computer – especially if working-from-home using the laptop whilst sitting on the sofa – disaster!
  • Sitting for too long at the computer;
  • New, vigorous exercise regimes – too many sit-ups or lifting weights over-head;
  • Raised blood pressure.
  • Medication – such as statins.

Helping to ease the pain

Some of these problems can be easily rectified, thankfully.

If you are dehydrated  – drink more water or caffeine-free drinks. The aim should be for about 8 glasses per day

For teeth-grinding try to reduce your stress levels and relax well before bedtime.

Desk-workers can ease tight muscles, which may cause headaches, by improving your posture.  Avoid working from the sofa or your bed.  A hard chair with a couple of well-placed cushions will offer your body a lot more support than a squidgy sofa.

Keep mobile at your desk by rolling your shoulders forwards and backwards; twisting round to glance over your shoulder; moving your jaw side to side; and changing your focus point for your eyes will all help.

Be careful with exercising that your neck or jaw aren’t tense or that your shoulders aren’t raised too high towards your ears.

For blood pressure worries pick up a monitor – they are reasonably priced  – and take your readings.  The ideal reading is 120/80. Your readings could then be discussed with a healthcare provider who can advise you regarding any further management, if needed. Similarly, queries regarding medication are best discussed with your GP.

Osteopathy for headaches

When you visit your osteopath they will ask you many question about your headaches.  This is so they can work out if they can help you.  In some cases you may need to visit your doctor before treatment can start. For more information about what your appointment might involve go to https://www.osteopathyatthemews.com/appointments/what-to-expect/

In many cases tension in the neck muscles can create headaches.  These might feel like pressure behind your eyes or across your forehead.

A treatment approach will then be discussed with you and then treatment can start. I find that, in most cases, headaches can be eased quite effectively, but lifestyle changes may also be needed.  Desk-set-up is really important for people currently and scheduling lots of movement breaks.  I can help you with this.

Osteopathy has been found to work well for headaches (see https://www.osteopathy.org.uk/news-and-resources/document-library/legislation/summary-effectiveness-of-manual-therapies/) so you should feel confident that you are in the right place.

I hope you have found this helpful.