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Headaches And What Causes Them - An Osteopathic Way To Treat Headaches

Updated on March 21, 2014

An alternative view to Headaches

Okay, hands up. How many of you have suffered belting headaches? Like me, you may find most of them happen in the workplace. Or maybe at home or else it's all the christmas thing and the stress of it all! Headaches can vary from infrequent and trivial annoyance (from too much drinking) to a symptom of what might be a serious disease...Nervous tension reputedly accounts for about 90% of all causes of headaches. I say reputedly because it can be misleading, perhaps dangerous to say that, since a number of environmental factors entirely unrelated to the state of your nerves may be the real reason. Stay with me, okay? As a broad term - headache can cover many things. Like a pain found in the neck, face, scalp, throat, nose and even teeth. Headaches happen in tandem with other discomforts, like nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, hearing problems, visual disturbances and even balance problems.

Any headache that accompanies a bout of vomiting, or a new unknown type of headache should be checked fully by a health professional. In my case, I got one from a darn tennis match that seemed innocent enough, but because a ball whacked me in my poor head, it meant there was reason to take it further when the headache came on to me and left me almost numb with pain. In my case a blow to the head or trauma like this was the culprit, and I was duly treated. And yes, recovering thankfully. (Cheeky Girl sits here out on the roof deck, overlooking the city, laptop in lap as she ponders her new hub.) I am glad I went to my Osteopath to get it checked. I was told I did the right thing. (Xray and MRI included!) But I got Osteopathic treatment, and learned some new things along the way.

It's a sad fact but you must have noticed recently in the media that some famous people or just people who get mentioned in the papers who have died - were found to have died not for the obvious reason but for what was discovered to be an underlying reason. In an unrelated incident, a personal friend of mine dies in a bicycle accident when he tipped over the handlebars of the bike onto some grass. A post mortem later revealed a head injury he had experienced years previous to the event as being the underlying cause of death, and he had done nothing about it at the time, besides complain of a mad thumping headache. Serious headaches represent only a small amount of headaches experienced in general. People can have recurring headaches over several months, and might treat them with painkillers and / or anti-inflammatories, with what might be varying degrees of success. But what of the causes? What is behind the headache?

Tension headaches are related to stress. When the muscles around the neck contract due to tension, they squeeze and irritate sensitive nerves at the base of the skull and around the skull. Taking painkillers will dull the pain, and yes - relief will be most welcome. But painkillers never mention on the box how some simple things can help eliminate headache from happening. Gentle osteopathic treatment can help the tension and pain, and provide longer relief, reducing the need for (and expense of) medication. My Osteopath treats sports injuries, and this is how this became known to me.

Pain which goes across the forehead or in the scalp could be due to irritation of the joints at the base of the neck. Irritation of those joints can also lead to other feelings of nausea or an irritable bowel. Simply improving the movement of these joints will help reduce that kind of headache. This is why, before any sports I do now, I do stretches and quick and gentle exercises to "warm up" my muscles, and get those joints moving nice and freely. ( I went kayaking one time, and I am prone to sea-sickness on water. Asking my Osteopath for suggestions, she surprised me by recommending an old chinese remedy; munch or suck on a small piece or root of ginger. Result - no seasickness for me since that day!)

But the Osteopath I have isn't just interested in joints, she's interested in why joints don't work or move properly. (I was surprised how the osteopathy versus the physician thing works here.) Take age and degeneration (it gets us all eventually) or whiplash type injuries that have not been treated properly, or maybe posture (I know LOTS of people who have bad posture or slouch with shoulders slumped forward!) - they can all lead to discomfort and stress on the joints, thus causing pain. Add headache here if you wish, and soon we are almost repeating ourselves.

The spine is a very important part of the human body, and source of lots of pains and aches for us. Any misalignment of the spine will result in accumulated stresses in the neck and so we get headaches. Treating the misalignment of the spine will provide longer periods of pain relief, since the underlying causes are being treated. Okay, let me assure you I am not trying to do a hard-sell on the whole Osteopath thing here. I attend my GP for various things (lady matters, you know?) that the Osteopath doesn't ever deal with, and that is to be expected, I guess. But I do believe in coincidence. And my friend convinced me of the Osteopathic approach to pain as being good, when I recommended her to see my Osteopath about her Sinus problem. Osteopathic treatment works in interesting ways.

Here's how it works: improper blood supply to and from the head can result in migraine-like headaches and sinus congestion. Apparently blood needs to flow freely to and from the brain. The brain is ultra-sensitive, and is very sensitive to changes. Any mechanical blockages by either tense muscles (in head or neck area) or spine misalignment may impede blood flow and thus lead to some uncomfortable headaches. It turns out my girlfriend has a recurring mechanical blockage that gives her sinus problems. By adjusting these mechanical blockages to allow free blood flow, it helps in reducing if not eliminating this kind of headache. Now why do the boxes of pills we usually buy never tell us this, I wonder? Would a box of painkillers recommend using the right kind of pillow for resting your head on, for example?

Its useful and interesting what can be discovered by visiting the Osteopath. Many moons ago, when planning a trip to The Philippines with friends, I was told to try getting massages there as Filipinos are big into this; it's cheap by western standards (500 pesos, typically, less than ten quid) and works wonders for getting rid of aches and pains, as well as improving the blood flow. So I duly had some massages while there, (even a beach massage in Boracay) and I never slept so well in all my life. Bliss! I simply underestimated the medical benefits of getting a back or neck massage, or full body massage, but it's really good. And so relaxing! I am a convert.

With headaches, there are other causes too, including improper diet, not drinking enough water, poor body position at work, visceral disturbances or hormonal imbalances. There are many kinds of headaches it seems, as well as causes. My Osteopath seems to go into case history and examination, which helps to identify underlying causes, and she can then offer a personalized treatment plan. My GP doesn't seem to go into this level of detail, and I wish she would! We all want the same thing here, but Osteopaths and GPs have different ways of doing things, it seems. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

As my grandfather liked to say, "it's nourishment we need more of, not punishment". He grew up in Italy, and he knows a lot. But I entirely agree. And at the prospect of sounding like an "oldie", maybe I can just underline, that we are never too young (or old) to go that little bit further and learn to understand the causes behind things like annoying headaches. When I ever get one, I know I am doing something wrong. Moral of the story: learn to anticipate headaches and take measures to avoid them.

Copyright (c) 2010 to 2014 Cassy Mantis. All Rights reserved.

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  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 5 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Any flattery about my portrait is very accepted. :)

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 7 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Hello Neil, it's great to see your comments here. Gosh, of course this is my face. I will be putting my foto up soon when I publish my forthcoming romantic book, which I am almost finished. I want my face on moi hubs, Neil! Heh! I love the "yummies" comment! Vibes indeed! LOL! Cheers, Neil! I hope things are okay with you. :D

  • Neil Sperling profile image

    Neil Sperling 7 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

    I had to drop by after reading a "comment" in one of your hubs stating this portrait was the real you..... Yummies!

    Jeeeze how the vibes are flying now!

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 7 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Hy Beth100: dang, that sounds like a result right there. Well I would not write it if I didn't already believe it, so I am happy that you have found the Osteopathic way a success. Yes, it helps get to the root of the problem. Beth I am very happy for you. And thank you for the rating too! Cheers! : )

  • Beth100 profile image

    Beth100 7 years ago from Canada

    Cheeky, you and I and our osteos! Mine has worked miracles on me too, when all "modern" medicines and techniques did not render any positive results. It's an approach and belief of going to the root of the cause. How is it stated? We treat the cause, not the symptoms. Great hub! Rated it up, UP!!

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    @ Paulo: You are right - working less hard will mean less headaches or stress. Glad to share, my friend!

  • profile image

    paulo 8 years ago

    headaches can be less problem than by work less hard, we learn from you. Thankyou for sharing for this.

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    @ black romeo: Thanks for your comments, my friend. Glad you feel the inspiration. HubPages is just the right place for that! : )

  • black romeo profile image

    black romeo 8 years ago from Nigeria

    this is a very good info, i will write something about headaches in my next hub. thanks

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    I am a relatively new convert to the whole osteopathic treatment thing here, so I am glad this is being "found". It's opening people's eyes here.

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Hy habee:

    I hope it was helpful! I know people who suffer from that, they get sniffles from the slightest thing! The merest bit of dust can set it off! Cheers for the comments! : )

  • habee profile image

    Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

    Great info! I think most of my headaches are from sinusitis.

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    To dinkan53:

    Thank you for the comments. I am happy to help! I have checked out your Hubs, they are really good!

  • dinkan53 profile image

    dinkan53 8 years ago from India

    oh, true headache can give lot of problems. thanks for sharing information

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Hy ripplemaker,

    Aaah what a great Hubber you are! It's always nice to get your comments on my Hubs. I hope you keep the sinuses at bay! The ginger tip I got was a gem. I wish I knew more about biology and medicine - there must be loads of discoveries out there waiting to be found. Your comments here are always welcome. Thank you so much! Take care! I am a true fan!

  • ripplemaker profile image

    Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

    Hi Cheeky Girl, yes blocked sinuses can indeed cause migraines. I know because I have those. Although I have never been been to an osteopath, taking herbal medicines helped a lot. And oh yes, staying cool amidst life's challenges. Tension is a number one factor to headaches. So true! I'm all for alternative help. Was intrigued too about the sea sickness thing and biting on a root ginger. Hmmmm... and the massage, oh yes, that is a great way to relax too! :) Thanks for this hub!

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    To Healthtip:

    I love your foto by the way! Hugh Laurie rocks in "House", one the best shows on TV! Do you resemble him? Just curious, that's all! LOL!

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    To Magdielqr,

    ooops! Almost didn't see your comment here! Apologies for that. Thank you for the nice comment! Count me as a fan of yours!

    To HealthTip:

    Why thankyou for this. My ears a burning from the compliments! Yes, I do have that cheeky sense of humour, but then I wouldn't be Cheeky Girl otherwise! LOL! Um, I'm not really cockney. Me, I'm college educated, me! *ROLFWL*

    That's nice of you! Count me a fan too! ; )

  • profile image

    HealthTip 8 years ago

    You deff are not only a good writer but you have a witty way of writing, I like that, methinks I shall be following this young cockney girl ; )

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    To Neil Sperling:

    Gosh! I covered everything? I'm not that good! LOL! I appreciate the feedback, though. I became a kind of convert because the approach was different and it is a big improvement on the usual cures for headaches. It also got me thinking about the whole subject. Glad to be making the difference here! (If that's even what I'm doing!!) Hey yes, Chiropractors would surely be good!

    There's an idea for a Hub! You get first dibs on that one, Neil. Thank you for the nice comments! You're a star! : )

    To compu-smart:

    What can I say...thank you for the comments! Happy to oblige and share the knowledge. I welcome your friend visiting my hub here any time! (Or any of them for that matter!) Hope it helps! : )

  • compu-smart profile image

    Compu-Smart 8 years ago from London UK

    Great hub Cheeky Girl!

    My friend suffers from migraines all the time, so maybe he will find help here!.

  • Neil Sperling profile image

    Neil Sperling 8 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

    So True - You covered everything I know about head aches. Chiropractors can help a lot too.

    Cheeky - "I love your honest simple approach to writing" Keep on sharing your knowledge, wisdom and inner beauty! They all come through strong in your hubs.

    Love - Light - Laughter


  • magdielqr profile image

    magdielqr 8 years ago

    Excellent Hub!

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    To Susana S,

    Gosh! Most devoted fan? I am flattered truly! But then, you have so many good hubs. And they are truly informative. I even bookmarked some for reference, your advice on hubs is great!(for a newbie like me!)

    My boss is the reason I have an Osteopath. He recommended her, and it comes part of my job. Before that I didn't know the difference between Osteopaths and Ostrigoths! LOL! Yes, I have done the crying or sobbing or even feeling sorry for myself thing, not to mention the Sudoku thing, the crossword thing, the clean the kitchen thing, the fone a friend thing, and the go for a walk thing! Oh, the go to the gym for half an hour thing also works for me. I should have included that there, shouldn't I? Thanks for the comment, Susana. I appreciate you for it!

  • Susana S profile image

    Susana S 8 years ago

    Hi Cheeky - I think you must be my most devoted fan :) Thanks for your great comments on my hubs! Now to your hub, which is super duper BTW. I am a girl who gets migraines so it was very interesting reading. I've never seen an osteopath though I belive the underlying theory on how it works. It makes sense to me. Since right now I can't afford an osteopath, I find a good cry usually gets rid of my migraines by releasing all the pent up tension and, lol!

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    I am not a sufferer of any major medical issues or problems. Knowing that this is a big area of interest, however, I value all opinions here. let me know your views. Thanks!

    Cheeky Girl


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