Say good bye to headaches and get on with your day!

Headaches describe any pain to the head or face and are one of the most common conditions amongst Australians, with 20-25% of adults suffering from chronic tensions type headaches.
Headaches can occur at any age and seriously weigh you down and interfere with your day-to-day life.
The good news is headaches are generally not serious, and can be easily treated. However, we recommend you consult with your doctor if you are suffering from any of the following:
• New type of headache that appears suddenly and is getting worse
• Symptoms of slurred speech, confusion, weakness in your limbs and drowsiness
• Headache that comes on suddenly when coughing, sneezing, laughing or movement
• Headache following serious trauma to the head or neck

Why do I have it?

If you have recently started a new medication or been involved in a traumatic incident resulting in a bump or knock to the head, it is likely that your headache has occurred as a secondary response to this. It is important to consult with your doctor in these circumstances.
Quiet often it may seem as though your headache has come on for no apparent reason and you can’t seem to figure out why, but there are a number of things that can lead to headaches. Typically when the muscles and joints of the neck become tight and aggravated this causes inflammation and stress that may manifest as a head ache and will often feel like tension or a pulsating feeling in the front, side or base of the head.
Common reasons that cause the neck to become aggravated and cause headaches include poor posture – particularly with desk based jobs and students, stress, poor/lack of sleep and eye strain/squinting.
Other causes of headaches include dehydration, skipping meals/poor nutrition, caffeine withdrawal and hormonal imbalances.

How long until I get better?

The time it will take for your headache to get better will depend on the cause of your headache. Once we determine the cause of your headache, it is easier to estimate how long till you will get better. With appropriate management and advice you can often say goodbye to your headaches within 2-4 weeks.

How do I get better?

Increase your fluid uptake. When you first feel a headache coming on drink plenty of water! Often a headache is our body’s way of telling us that we need to drink more water.
Rest – Getting plenty of rest is beneficial for both your physical and mental health and so can contribute to reducing your headaches. Allowing time to get adequate sleep and rest may help to reduce physical symptoms of headaches as it allows our body to recover. It may also assist in reducing stress within the body that may be resulting in maintaining persistent headaches.
Heat helps to encourage nutrient flow to tissues of the body and promotes muscle recovery. Therefor applying heat to the base of the skull at the end of a busy day can have lasting benefits in the treatment of headache disorders.
If you are still finding it difficult to shake those headaches, Osteopathic treatment may be beneficial. An Osteopath may be able to use a range of techniques including soft tissue massage, joint stretching and movement to address and correct postural imbalances that may contributing to your headaches. An osteopath may also be able to provide you with advice on correct desk set up, stretches and exercises to have you back on the road to recovery and on your way to a headache free life. Typically it may take 2-4 weekly treatments to get on top of your headaches, followed by 2-3 fortnightly – monthly reviews.
If you require more specific advice relating to your headaches or aren’t having success with the above consult with your health care professional.

What can I do to stop it coming back?

There are a number of at home stretches and exercises that you can perform to reduce your likelihood of experiencing headaches we have outlined a few below for you to try.
Taking regular breaks whilst sitting at a desk for work and/or study is essential in maintaining and preventing your headaches. Taking 30 seconds to stretch out the muscles in your neck will help to keep the muscles in a healthy state and contribute to overall neck mobility.
Whilst sitting at your desk for work or study try to pull your shoulder blades back and down towards the ground to assist in achieving optimal posture.
Keeping mobility through the mid back and neck assists with keeping joints healthy, and may decrease your headaches. A simple exercise to maintain mobility in these regions is the cat and camel exercise. This is performed on all fours and involves alternating between drawing the spine to the ceiling to form a “hump” (like a camel), and drawing the spine towards the ground and looking up to the roof (like a happy cat).
As most of us spend majority of our time at our work stations, having an independent assessor come in to evaluate your desk/station set up to ensure it is in a way the best benefits your health. An optimal work-station set up will limit extension through your neck and therefore decrease strain through the muscles at the back of the neck. This can easily be achieved by altering computer screen height, desk and chair height. A workplace ergonomic assessment can be organised with assistance from a healthcare professional.

The osteopaths at Peninsula Osteopathy + Allied Health are all qualified to assess the cause of your headache, and can offer treatment and management advice! Call us on 5253 2345 or book online today!

Gemma Percy

Gemma completed her Bachelor of health sciences/Bachelor of Applied Sciences at RMIT University. Having participated in many team sports growing up Gemma has developed a keen interest and passion in assisting young athletes stay fit and healthy. She enjoys playing an active role in helping patients of all ages achieve their goals – no matter how big or small. She believes in using a patient centred approach to treatment and works with each individual to develop a management plan that suits best.