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Osteopathic Treatment for Headaches and Migraines
Every single person will experience headaches in their lifetime and a large percentage of people will also get a specific type of headache known as a migraine.
Although they both usually cause pain within the head, headaches and migraines can be quite different from each other. They can occur suddenly or gradually, with or without a traumatic onset and they don’t discriminate by race or age. Lasting anywhere from an hour to several days, headaches and migraines can disrupt your daily life and unfortunately, some people will suffer from them chronically.
The symptoms of a migraine may consist of up to four stages. The first stage is called prodrome and includes small mental and physical changes like neck stiffness, hyperactivity, frequent yawning, depression and food cravings about a day or two before a migraine attack.
The second stage is known as aura and
includes visual disturbances like flashes and spots of light and might also include tingling sensations, problems with speech and temporary vision loss. The third stage is the actual attack and symptoms may be pain, blurred vision, dizziness or fainting, nausea leading to vomiting and sensitivity to sounds, smells and light. The final stage is postdrome and people can feel very weak and drained during it.
Headache symptoms are pretty straightforward and are defined as being pain in any area of the head. Headache pain may be described as being sharp, dull or having a throbbing feeling. With either condition, almost any movement (especially bending over) may make symptoms worse and prolong the attack while lying down in a dark room can eventually help improve pain and discomfort.
There are many causes of headaches and migraines ranging from a bump on the head to a serious underlying medical emergency. Most often, a headache can be traced back to joint stiffness or muscle strain in the neck and/or upper back and therefore, many people with chronic headaches and migraines will seek osteopathy.
Elissa Gustafson, DOMP and Carolyn Smith, DOMP are osteopaths in Ottawa who help their patients lessen or eliminate their head pain by improving posture and circulation, reducing inflammation and tension in muscles and much more. Many patients will also try chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage therapy and even athletic therapy to treat their chronic headaches or migraines.