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  • Caitlin Osteopath

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Headaches are a very common, and quite debilitating condition. With around 15 per cent of Australians taking pain-relieving medication for headaches at any given time. If you are someone who has never suffered from headaches in your lifetime you are very lucky and I’m extremely jealous of you.

Headaches are defined as a continuous pain in the head. This is caused by anything that stimulates the pain receptors in a person’s head or neck. This can range from stress, muscular tension and hormonal changes, to high blood pressure or infections.

Headaches can be described as primary headaches, for example cervicogenic headaches, tension type headaches and migraines. These types of headaches are not associated with any other disease. Headaches can also be secondary, and are triggered by other disorders such as infections, tumours or stroke.

For the purpose of this blog let's discuss the difference between the most common types of primary headaches.

Tension Type Headaches:

· Effects women more than men

· Can feel diffusely around the head and both sides of the face

· Dull ache in quality

· Intensity is usually mild but still very annoying

· Can occur daily for some

· Can last for days to weeks

· May be accompanied with loss of appetite

· Triggers are broad and vary from person to person - it could be stress, poor posture or fatigue

· Treatment - complimentary therapies like Osteopathy, over the counter medications and lifestyle modifications (eg stress management - see our previous blog)


· Effects women more than men

· Throbbing or pulsating in quality

· Felt around the front of face and usually on one side

· Intensity ranges moderate to severe

· Can occur 1 - 4 times per month and last for 4 - 72 hours

· Usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, visual changes, sensitivity to light and sound

· Triggers vary from dietary to hormonal to environmental factors such as smells or light flickers

· Treatment - complimentary therapies like Osteopathy, medications obtained through GP and avoiding triggers if known

If you suffer from headaches or migraines, the team at Symetri are here to help with your management through education, manual and physical therapy.

I would also direct you to a fabulous website - 'Migraine and Headache Australia' to find out more information. The link below will take you to a page with information to help with management of your headache.

Also please be aware if you are suffering from a new or very intense type of headache (especially if over the age of 50) or if your headache is:

• associated with a loss of consciousness

• cannot be relieved with medication or requires daily use of medication

• occurs after a head injury

• is associated with blurred vision, difficulty speaking or numbness of arms or legs

• is accompanied by fever or vomiting.

A visit to your GP is a must.


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