Practical tips to help keep headaches at bay this Christmas

The festive period for many is often a cocktail of too much mulled wine and not enough water.. late nights and a flagging exercise routine, followed by a few nights sleeping on your mate's floor or in an unfamiliar bed (i don't need to know the details). I think some of these things are just inevitable over Christmas and although I advocate a healthy lifestyle, I'm also realistic and think it's good for the soul to let your hair down and enjoy the festivities. So this isn't a blog on how to drink several bottles of wine and wake up the next day without a hum-dinger of a headache (sorry!), this is a blog post on some practical advice that might help prevent a headache from party pooping all over your christmas.

Types of headaches

There are many different types of headaches and it's important to note that any headaches that are unusually severe or very different from your typical type of headache are worth being checked out by a primary healthcare practitioner, but the majority of headaches that people see me for are tension headaches coming from tension in the neck and shoulders; cervicogenic headaches which are headaches that are effectively pain referred from irritated structures in the upper neck, and migraines. What do some migraines, cervicogenic headaches and tension headaches all have in common? They have a musculoskeletal origin, that is to say they stem from tight and painful muscles, or joint restrictions and irritations in the neck.

What can we do to help prevent them?

Here's a couple of tips to try and prevent the build up of musculoskeletal strain that precedes and accompanies these headaches:

- Have an osteopathy appointment before the holidays: if you suffer with headaches regularly and are nervous about them ruining your christmas festivities, then osteopathic treatment is the best place to start. Treatment is completely tailored to you as an individual but examples of things your osteopath may look for are: tension in the small muscles between the neck and the skull, joint restrictions in the upper neck that can refer pain to the head, areas in the upper back and ribs where movement is reduced or restricted, tightness in the shoulder muscles and muscles at the front of the neck, any issues with the jaw from teeth grinding or previous major dental work. We'll also look at any obvious lifestyle factors that might be causing or maintaining your headaches. Click to book in your first appointment today.