Clifton & Shirehampton Osteopaths - Headache


Common causes of Headache

  • Chronic ‘Tension headache’ is the most common form of headache that we treat in clinical practice.
    It originates just below the base of the skull due to mechanical dysfunction and chronic stiffness in the joints and muscles of the upper neck.
    This in turn leads to irritation of the nerves which supply the occiputo – frontal areas of the skull.
    Pain is felt as a dull thumping headache which responds poorly to pain killers.
  • Cervical Spondylosis, Spondylitis, (various forms of wear and tear) and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Trigger points in the Neck and Shoulder muscles together with poor posture and neck position at work or during sleep.

Pain classically starts in the occipital region at the base of the skull and spreads over the vertex to the forehead, temple and eye. Intensity fluctuates from mild or moderate to severe and can occur daily and be worsened by head and neck movement.

Other Associated Symptoms

  • Vertigo / Dizziness
    Not all cases of dizziness or vertigo originate in the balance mechanisms of the inner ear or are due to circulatory pathology (disruption of normal blood flow to the brain).
    Nerve receptors in the cervical spine joints and supporting muscles are also very important in the maintenance of normal balance.

Patients experiencing dizziness relating to a mechanical imbalance in the neck may feel positional unsteadiness or giddiness with a feeling that the ground is moving, postural instability on turning the head and imbalance that is markedly worsened by sudden head movements such as looking up or down.
Neck pain is nearly always present with muscle tenderness, stiffness, and guarding of the cervical region.
These symptoms may often precede the sensations of dizziness by days or weeks.


In all cases of head pain or dizziness it is vitally important to carry out a thorough examination to determine the most likely cause of the symptoms and rule out the possibility of the presence of serious pathology.


We will take a full history of your headaches and general medical history, perform a physical and neurological examination before making a diagnosis and proceeding with treatment.


If at any stage we are unhappy with our clinical findings we will either refer you back to your GP or arrange further diagnostic tests such as MRI or X-Ray.

Please Note:
If you suffer a headache that is of sudden unexplained onset and severe in it’s intensity, accompanies a fever, stiff neck, rash, confusion, seizure, double vision, weakness, numbness, difficulty speaking or follows a head injury please seek medical treatment urgently as this may constitute a medical emergency.


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please telephone: - 0117 929 3289