Treatment of headaches and migraines at Bayside Headache Clinic focuses on the joints and muscles of the neck and jaw. Pain may come from a dysfunctional, irritated or injured segment (joint), as well as a tight, inflamed or irritated muscle band, known as a trigger point. A recent study found that 82% of patients presenting with migraine also reported neck pain.
(source: Lampl, et. al. The Journal of Headache and Pain, 2015, 16:80)
Many of our patients report they have been unable to relieve their pain with manual therapy or simply didn't know their headache could be relieved by treating their neck. A majority of these patients rely on medication to manage their pain and often put up with daily or weekly headaches and migraines because they're not sure what else to do.
How can we help?
Treating the upper segments of the neck, in combination with trigger points (irritated bands of muscle), known to refer pain to the head, will often make a significant difference to the severity of pain our patients have been suffering. The concept developed by Dean Watson to successfully treat many headache and migraine sufferers is one of the methods used at our clinic. The Watson Headache method focuses on reducing the dysfunction between the upper 3 joints in the neck. In addition to this method, our approach includes the use of trigger point dry needling to deactivate the muscle spasm and sensitivity of the nerves that supply this region.
The aim of the treatment is to:
provide noticeable relief within the first 24 hours,
reduced symptoms with each successive treatment.
provide advice and strategies to reduce pain, avoid headache triggers and educate our patients about what causes their headaches or migraines
The dry needling techniques used are often well tolerated by patients and reduce the risk of post treatment soreness or aggravation when compared to commonly used manual techniques.
The sensation is often described as a mild discomfort rather than pain.
The goal is to cause as little pain as possible, provide relief quickly while minimising the risk of the headache getting worse.
This approach requires thorough knowledge of the anatomy and the pathology (cause of dysfunction) in this area. Craig White has completed training with Dean Watson from The Watson Headache Institute. In addition, Craig White, Chris Cormick and Jessica Partridge have completed further training in Trigger Point Dry Needling with GEMt, a leader in teaching Dry Needling in Australia and internationally.
As an Osteopath, the assessment and treatment is not limited to the upper neck, a thorough assessment of the spine, jaw, shoulder and rib cage is critical to identifying what lead to the problem in the first place. Other causes of headache include fatigue, digestive complaints, food allergies, diet, exercise, poor posture, whiplash/ trauma, and visual problems, each of which need to be considered as potential causes or aggravating factors.
Treatment involves deep tissue, sports, trigger point release, stretching and cupping.
TRIGGER POINT DRY NEEDLING
Trigger Point Dry Needling allows treatment of headaches by calming the source of the pain in the brain and spinal cord in a more effective way than previously possible with manual therapy alone. Diagnosis and treatment become quicker and more effective. Applied correctly, Dry Needling can often deliver faster relief of symptoms with less chance of side effects compared to traditional manual therapy techniques.
Headaches and neck pain often occur together with many headaches and migraines caused or aggravated by neck pain. Identifying the cause of the dysfunction in the neck, whether it be a joint, muscle or postural problems further down the spine is essential for relieving symptoms. Thorough examination of the neck and spine along with the muscles, posture and jaw will help determine the right course of action for each individual patient. Acute wry neck (torticollis), whiplash injuries, joint restriction and trigger points are conditions we treat with great success everyday.