Headaches are common and can commonly be helped with self treatment
Headaches come in a wide variety of presentations and most of us will experience a headache at least once in our life time, with some people describing headaches as the most common complaint of civilised man!
As headaches present in many forms, it is important to take not of where your pain begins and when during the day as the more we know about your headache, the quicker we can help relieve it.
Some of the common headaches are:
Tension - these are usually a mild to moderate type of headache that feels like a tight band around your head and can give you a squeezing sensation. These can last from 30 mins to a few days if not treated but should still allow you to complete daily activities as you do not get the blurred vision or loss of balance that you can get in other headaches. Tension Headaches can be due to stress and sometimes clenching or grinding your teeth.
Self Treatment - Self massage though your temporals and masseter muscles will help with receiving some tension through your head. Making small circles with your fingers can help relax muscles around your jaw and decrease fascial tension around the skull.
Relaxation techniques will also help. These can be a simple as sitting in a darkened room and clearing your mind before bed, or going for a walk after work or anything else you enjoy doing that takes your mind of your stressors.
A Manaul Therapist (Osteopath, Physiotherapist, Chiropractor etc) can assist by improving your neck and jaw mobility and decreasing all restricted joints and tight muscles which will allow a quick improvement.
Cervciogenic Headaches - these headaches tend to start under the base of the skull and as they build up, they can spread to the front of your head. These can be mild to moderate headaches and are caused by restrictions and irritations in your neck. These headaches can last until you address the neck issues.
Self Treatment - a manual therapist (Osteopath, Physiotherapist, Chiropractor etc) are the best to seek out for these types of headaches as they will be able to target the cause and not just the symptoms as most medications do. Improving your neck mobility and decreasing all restricted joints and tight muscles will see a quick release of pain.
At home, you can release the Sub-Occipital muscles by using self massage which can give some relief. You can do this by pushing your index fingers under the skull and moving in small circles to release the muscular tension.
Migraines - these awful headaches can behave in a number of ways but usually last a few hours or a few days and usually leave you in a washed out state for a few days.
You can have migraines with an aura, which means your sense warn you it’s coming by blurring your vision, affecting your speech and balance. These are severe headaches and do not have similar causes for everybody.
Self Treatment - finding a dark and quiet room should be the start and using heat or cold (whatever makes you feel better) around your neck may help. Small amounts of caffeine during the early stages may help decrease the effects of the migraine as well.
A Manual therapist can assist in preventing migraines by making sure your body is working at it’s best and keeping the blood flow to and from the head as unrestricted as possible. They will also be able to talk about specific preventative techniques, but sometimes pharmacological intervention may be needed.
Hope this helps with separating some of the common headaches and the differences and the next time you feel one coming on, try the self treatment techniques and hopefully hold them off.