Headaches and migraines

Osteopathy is a natural treatment alternative for headaches. These complaints can result from many things including stress, poor posture and dental work.  The pain of a tension headache often originates from tension in the neck which is irritating the nerves supplying the muscles of the head.

When treating pain in the head, the osteopath will always consider how the head is moving in relation to the rest of the body.  This may mean that treatment of the pelvis, spine, shoulders and throat may be useful to help realign the body, allowing the neck and nervous system to function unimpeded.

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Anderson RE, Seniscal C.

Published in Headaches, 2006 Sep;46(8):1273-80.

The people in this study who did relaxation exercises and received 3 osteopathy treatments had significantly more days per week without headache than those who did only relaxation exercises.

Bronfort G, Assendelft WJ, Evans R, Haas M, Bouter L.

Published in J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2001 Sep;24(7):457-66.

Manipulation appears to have a better effect than massage for cervicogenic headache. It also appears that spinal manipulation has an effect comparable to commonly used first-line prophylactic prescription medications for tension-type headache and migraine headache.


Chaibi A, Tuchin PJ, Russell MB.

Published in J Headache Pain. 2011;12(2):127-133.

The random controlled trials suggest that massage therapy, physiotherapy, relaxation and spinal manipulative therapy might be equally effective as propranolol and topiramate in the prophylactic management of migraine. However, these had many methodological shortcomings and therefore, future, well-conducted trials are needed.

Posadzki P, Ernst E.

Published in Complement Thera Med. 2012 Aug;20(4):232-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2011.12.001. Epub 2011 Dec 29.

The evidence that spinal manipulation alleviates tension type headaches is encouraging, but inconclusive. Further research is needed.