Brain Pain? The brain tissue itself is not pain sensitive, so it is likely that most headaches are not a result of injury to brain tissue… Osteopaths, as primary healthcare practitioners, are trained to differentiate between headaches with common causes and those due to serious pathology. Causes “The most common type of headache originates from tension, muscle stiffness, or joint strain in the neck and upper thoracic region.” * World Health Organisation Factsheet No. 277 Muscles of the upper back and neck have fascial connections to the scalp. Increased tension in these muscles due to emotional stress or postural demands often manifests as a band of tension around the head. Other causes include: – Eye strain. – Sinus congestion. – Trauma- Whiplash injury. – Emotional Stress. – Poor posture. – Jaw imbalance and teeth grinding. – Infection. – Allergies and food intolerances. – Neuro-vascular compression. – Hypertension. Types of Headaches- Differentation Migraine – Unilateral, intense throbbing pain. – Duration 4/72hrs. – Nausea, vomiting, photo/phonophobia. – Auras and prodromes. – May be aggravated by physical activity. Tension – Uni or bilateral band around head. – Steady ache lasting 30mins to 7 days. – Not usually aggravated by physical activity. – May have photo/phonophobia. Cluster – Severe unilateral pain in or around eye. – Can wake patients at night. – “Clusters” of headaches 15-180mins occur every other day up to 8 times a day. – May have nasal congestion/runny nose, tearing, drooping or swollen eyelids. Cevicogenic – Gradual onset, constant ache bi or unilateral. – Usually back of head but can be retro-orbital or even temporal. – Nausea, dizziness and neck stiffness. – May be aggravated by neck movements. Sinuses – Constant throbbing pain in infected sinuses. – Due to infection. – Can be worse in the morning and on bending forward. – May be aggravated by physical activity. TMJ – Uni or bilateral ache around temples and ears. – A type of tension headache. – Due to stress, buxism or TMJ dysfunction. – Aggravated by stress. How Osteopathy Can Help We can help by: – Improving your general mobility. – Improving the mobility of your ribs and thoracic and cervical spine. – Reducing muscular tension, nerve compression and inflammation. – Advising on your posture, exercise and stretching to help prevent a recurrence of symptoms. – Offering guidance on your diet and preventing dehydration. – Advising on improving the ergonomics of your home or workplace. Just A Bad Headache? You should always seek advice from a health professional, including an osteopath, if you get a headache after a head trauma and/or the headache is getting worse. You should also seek professional advice if the headache is accompanied by: – Fever. – Nausea or vomiting. – Bleeding or fluid draining from the nose or ears. – Dizziness. – Blurred vision or slurred speech. – Numbness, tingling or paralysis. – Unremitting.