Understanding conditions that affect your brain and head

The head contains our main sensory organs. The ear contains complex sound and balance systems, the eyes for sight, and of course most importantly, the brain – the neural control centre of the body. Problems impairing any of the sensory systems can be painful and affect the way we are feeling.

 

Headaches

Headaches are a common cause of pain and discomfort and can be extremely debilitating. They are rarely a sign of serious illness, but it can be difficult to find out what started them. Possible causes include dehydration, lack of sleep, teeth or jaw problems, stress and hormonal changes.

There are three main types of headaches – migraines, tension headaches and cervicogenic headaches (coming from the neck). Neck headaches are by far the most common presentation and luckily, they are the easiest to treat. Have a read of Headaches – Why are they such a pain in the neck for further information of how manage your headache.

 

Vertigo

Vertigo is condition where you feel like you or everything around you is spinning. It is more than just feelings of dizziness – it can affect your balance and make you feel nauseous.

A vertigo attack can last from seconds to hours and can be caused by many different things, such as an infection in your inner ear (labyrinthitis), migraines or inflammation of the vestibular nerve. The most common cause for vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).

BPPV is benign (not serious), even though it can make you feel very unwell. It tends to come on in shorts bursts lasting up to a minute and is position dependent. To learn more, check out our blog dedicated to Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.

 

Temporomandibular joint disorder

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) refers to the hinge joint that connects the jawbone (mandible) to the skull. The cause for TMJ pain can often be difficult to determine, but is commonly associated with teeth grinding, post trauma to the face/jaw or muscle tightness and stress.

TMJ pain can present as:

  • Pain around the jaw, ear and temples
  • Headaches specifically around temples
  • Catching or difficulty with opening/closing jaw
  • Popping, grinding or clicking of the jaw when it is moved

What you can do for TMJ pain:

  • Avoid eating hard food. Soft food such as omelettes and pasta are best
  • Ice or hot packs to help manage pain and relax muscles
  • Take adequate pain relief
  • Self-massage to release tight jaw muscles
  • Review the cause and make changes
  • Seek further assessment from one our physiotherapists to identify and make a treatment management plan

 

Concussion

A direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body can cause a concussion.

The brain is a structure with a gelatine-like texture, suspended in fluid and surrounded by a hard skull. With sudden movement (for example whiplash-type movement in a car accident) the brain can forcefully contact the skull and cause a concussion without a blow to the head.

Concussions are often difficult to diagnose, but common signs and symptoms include headaches, nausea, dizziness, visual issues, problems with concentration and reduced balance. To find out more about concussion and concussion management, read our Guide to concussion management.

 

At Life Ready Physio, we’re driven to not only to reduce your discomfort and pain but also develop a treatment management plan to identify the cause and to work towards rehabilitation and prevention.

Get in touch with one of our practitioners for a rejuvenated tomorrow, or click here for more information on the services we offer.

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