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Headaches are most often triggered by neck and upper back problems causing tension in muscles around your neck and head. We treat headaches on a regular basis and will try to find a solution for you.

Understanding Headaches: Types, Causes, and Role of Osteopathy


Everyone has experienced a headache at some point. But not all headaches are alike. Understanding the various types and their causes can help you identify the best treatment options, including osteopathy and massage therapy.


Tension-Type Headaches

Characterised by a persistent dull ache often described as a tight band around the forehead or back of the head, tension-type headaches are the most common. They result from muscle contractions in the head and neck region, often due to stress, grinding or clenching teeth, poor posture, or lack of sleep.

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Osteopathy can provide effective relief by reducing muscle tension and improving blood flow to the head. Techniques such as soft tissue massage and cranial osteopathy are often used. However, for persistent or recurrent headaches, it's advised to consult a healthcare professional for a comprehensive assessment.


Migraines are severe headaches, typically felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head, often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light or sound. Triggers can include certain foods, stress, hormonal changes, and lack of sleep.

Massage therapy, alongside regular osteopathic treatments, can help to manage migraines by reducing muscle tension, improving circulation, and promoting relaxation. Nevertheless, migraines are a complex condition, and a multidisciplinary approach, including medication and lifestyle changes, might be required.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are intensely painful, often described as a burning or piercing sensation, usually around one eye. They come in clusters, occurring frequently for a period of weeks or months, followed by remission periods.

While the exact cause of cluster headaches is unknown, the involvement of the trigeminal nerve suggests a neurovascular origin. Osteopathy can aid in symptom management and promote overall well-being but is not a standalone solution. Urgent medical attention should be sought for new or worsening symptoms.

Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches arise from inflammation and blockage of the sinuses, often resulting from a sinus infection or allergy. The pain is usually felt around the forehead, cheeks, and eyes.

Osteopathy can help by improving sinus drainage and relieving pressure. However, it's important to address the underlying cause, like infection or allergy, often requiring medical treatment.

Rebound Headaches

Rebound headaches result from overuse of headache medication. The pain typically occurs upon waking and persists throughout the day.

Osteopathy and massage therapy can provide natural, non-pharmacological options to manage headache pain and reduce reliance on medication. However, professional guidance should be sought when discontinuing or altering medication use.

Urgent Medical Attention

Seek urgent medical attention for headaches that are sudden and severe, accompanied by fever, stiff neck, confusion, seizure, double vision, weakness, numbness, or difficulty speaking. These symptoms may indicate a serious condition like stroke, meningitis, or brain aneurysm.


Osteopathy and massage therapy can be highly beneficial for managing many types of headaches, and can be used to complement conventional medical treatments. Each person's experience with headaches is unique, and so should be their treatment approach. At our clinic, we provide personalised treatments to meet your specific needs.


In addition to a professional medical diagnosis, we offer a range of osteopathic treatments designed to help you manage your headache symptoms and improve your quality of life. If you're interested to learn more, send us an email or book an appointment with us today.

We can help

Headaches are a very common problem we treat at Oxford Osteopaths. Whether it is stress related or arising from muscle injury elsewhere, our osteopaths will thoroughly investigate reasons for your headache and treat accordingly.

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