by Alan Jordan
City workers usually operate in constrained postures, often for long hours and in stressful environments. It is therefore not surprising that many of them develop muscle tension headaches. Indeed, this is a common complaint of many patients who seek osteopathic treatment.
During the initial consultation a careful case history and physical examination will be undertaken. If the osteopath is satisfied that treatment is appropriate, it will be initiated during your first visit. If additional investigations are needed, such as blood tests, x-rays and MRI scans, these will be carried out accordingly. The osteopaths at City of London Osteopaths work within the largest team of specialists in the City, and if cross referral to another specialist at our clinic is deemed appropriate, this is easily carried out.
Arriving at a Diagnosis
The International Classification of Headache divides headaches into primary and secondary headaches. The case history, physical examination and ancillary investigations all contribute towards arriving at an accurate diagnosis. Primary headaches are listed below. Secondary headaches include those that are secondary to trauma, infection, vascular disease and so forth.
- Tension-type headaches
- Cluster headaches and other trigeminal autonomic headaches
- Other primary headaches
A typical muscle tension headache can vary in frequency from almost daily to several days per month. Symptoms are usually concentrated in the upper shoulder area, the back of the neck, across the forehead and occasionally “behind” the eyes. Headache medications are often useful initially, but frequently lose their effectiveness as they are addressing only symptoms as opposed to causes. Patients often complain of lethargy, mild visual disturbances and even dizziness.
Osteopathic treatment is particular to each patient. A wide variety of osteopathic techniques, such as work on the soft tissues, manipulation or mobilisation, are used to cater for each patient’s needs. Advice regarding posture, appropriate exercises, work station assessments and so on will form an important part of the treatment. Osteopathic treatment for tension headaches is often successful, significantly improving quality of life for patients.