Headaches are a frequent reason for people to seek medical care. Many visits to osteopaths are motivated by this type of pain. While almost all of us experience the occasional headache, frequent recurring headache can significantly impact on a person’s health and their enjoyment of life.

A headache needs to be taken seriously in a number of circumstances, especially if it is a new type of headache you’ve never experienced previously, or is accompanied by sensitivity to light or sound, is accompanied by nausea or is relieved by vomiting.

There are many causes of headache from a big night out celebrating, your work posture or life stress to more sinister causes. Many headaches however arise from the way you use your body, which is good news because osteopathy can be very effective in helping with these symptoms!

While many factors should be considered when assessing the triggers for recurrent headache, have you considered that the way you use your jaw may be a factor in your headache? The picture below shows your jaw (known as the temporomandibular joint) and the main muscles that move it. Clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth while you sleep or something as simple as chewing gum regularly can trigger or exacerbate recurrent headaches.

In addition to these muscles, many of the nerves that supply sensation to the head can be irritated by the way you use your jaw. It’s a little bit complicated to explain in a blog but, during an osteopathic treatment, we will explain these headache triggers to you if they apply to you and how you can help manage them.

Osteopaths are experienced at treating all types of headaches and will comprehensively assess you to rule out serious causes of headache and consider if your jaw is contributing to your recurring headaches.

Persistent headaches can also cause sensitivity to headache triggers creating a “vicious circle” that precipitates more severe headaches or more frequent headaches. Fortunately, osteopaths are well equipped to help with this as well! We can provide evidence-based management advice as well as hands on treatment to help improve chronic headaches.

Alternatively, we can advise and discuss with you a referral to the most appropriate health professional, whether that’s your doctor or dentist, for further headache care.

Therefore, we encourage you not to “put up with” headaches and book an appointment.