Osteopathy for Headaches & Migraines

In the UK around 66% of adult males and over 80% of females will be affected by tension-type headaches, with 1 adult in 20 having a headache every day. Nearly 200,000 people in the UK experience migraines every day (World Health Organisation, 2004).

A headache is a pain located anywhere in the head, which can also extend down into the neck and jaw. There are many different causes of headaches, each presenting with its own set of symptoms. There are over 200 types of headaches, ranging from harmless to very serious. Your Osteopath will perform an examination of your neck, upper back, and neurological screening to help determine the cause of your headache.

Headache Migraine Littlehampton Chiropractor Osteopath Sussex

Causes of Headaches & Migraines

There are many different causes for headaches & migraines, these can include;

  • Stress
  • Tiredness
  • Bright Light
  • Tight Neck Muscles
  • Head Trauma
  • Smoking
  • Drugs (both prescription and non-prescription)
  • Eye Strain
  • Diabetes
  • Dehydration
  • Infection
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Neoplasm

There are over 200 different types of headaches,  which are split up into 2 main groups:  primary and secondary.

Primary headaches are the most common type of headache and include;

  • Tension Headaches – radiating from muscles in the back and neck
  • Migraines – disabling headaches lasting between 3hrs and 3days
  • Cluster Headaches – severe pain which happens in barrages of varying intensity
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia – shooting face pain
  • Dehydration – lack of fluid intake

Secondary headaches are less common, but include a much wider variety of types and causes including;

  • Cervicogenic Headache – pain arising from the neck muscles
  • Paradoxical Headache – taking too many pain killers, causing a worse headache
  • Thunderclap – due to a bleed on the brain which requires immediate medical attention
  • Meningitis headache – accompanied with a stiff neck
  • Encephalitis – due to inflammation of the brain due to a viral infection
  • Raised Intracranial Pressure – due to a lesion or tumor
  • Hypertension – high blood pressure


  • Head Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Eye Pain


The type of treatment suitable for headaches primarily depends on the type of headache you have.  Keeping a headache diary is useful to help work out what type of treatment is most appropriate for you.  The headache diary should include dates, duration, intensity, and anything that might be related to a headache, such as what you have drunk and eaten over the day, medications, weather conditions, and your daily activities.

If you experience the worst headache you could imagine, or you have a headache that has lasted more than 3 days, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Every day people visit Osteopaths with headaches and migraines and evidence shows that Osteopathic treatment is effective at treating migraines and cervicogenic headaches.  During your New Patient Appointment, your Osteopath will assess your body, complete a medical and symptom history, allowing them to provide a working diagnosis. There may be occasions where Osteopathy is not the right solution for you, and in this event, we will refer you to the correct health practitioner (e.g. General Practitioner).

Osteopathy care can include;

  • Spinal Manipulation
  • Joint Articulation
  • Massage Therapy
  • Soft Tissues Release
  • Trigger Avoidance Mechanisms
  • Stretches

Osteopathy is available at Littlehampton Natural Health Centre Monday to Friday.

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