Headaches And Massage Therapy

Headaches And Massage Therapy

Massage for Headaches is effective therapy for tension headaches and migraines.

Chronic Headache Sufferers

For many people headaches can be frequent and debilitating.   A headache can interfere with your ability to concentrate, connect with the people you care about and perform daily tasks.   Chronic headaches truly affect one’s quality of life.  Massage therapy is an effective treatment option for some types of headache sufferers.

Causes of Frequent Headaches

There are many different types of headaches and isolating the cause of frequent headaches can be challenging.  Some of the most common causes of headache pain are:

  1. Muscular tension
  2. Allergies / sensitivities (can be food or environmental)
  3. Certain medical conditions
  4. Stress
  5. Changes in the weather
  6. Hormonal changes (such as pregnancy or menstrual changes)
  7. …and more…

Treatment of Headaches

If you are experiencing frequent and/or severe headaches, your family doctor is always the best person to begin your treatment with.   Your doctor may want to rule out more serious health concerns, find any possible allergies, or check your hormone levels.    If they are able to uncover the cause of your headache, the best solution becomes evident.

Massage for Headaches            

Massage cannot help with all types of headaches, but it is the best approach for individuals who experience headaches due to muscular tension.  It can also be helpful for those who experience headaches when stressed and for sinus congestion.

Sometimes tense muscles can cause what is known as ’referral pain,’ meaning they shoot pain to distant seemingly unrelated areas of the body.  Many muscles in the neck and shoulders will send referral pain into the head, behind the eyes or various parts of the face.  When this occurs, the individual experiences their referral pain as a headache.  This is the definition of a ‘tension headache’ and they can be quite painful.

Studies have also shown that the tiny muscles at the base of the skull, called the suboccipital muscles, can be involved in some migraine headaches.  When these tiny muscles get tight, they can lead to debilitating migraine pain.

How massage for headaches can help:

  1. Massage helps alleviate muscular tension.  This can aid in managing the pain of tension headaches and some migraines.  The muscles causing your headache are located and massaged until they release their tension.  Once the tight muscles are released, the headache pain will subside.
  2. Massage is an effective treatment for underlying postural issues.  If your headaches are caused by tension in your neck or shoulders, and bad posture is the reason why these areas are so tight, then faulty posture is contributing to your headaches.  Effective postural correction will help decrease the frequency and severity of your headache symptoms for long term relief.
  3. Massage is an effective stress buster.  Some people are most prone to head pain when life gets a little too stressful.  If stress is a trigger for your headaches, then massage therapy can be an effective intervention.  It helps lower your stress hormones and enhances your feel-good endorphins.  This contributes to an overall sense of well-being…and helps alleviate your headache pain.
  4. Massage can help once your medications stop being as effective.  Many chronic headache sufferers find that over time their headache medication becomes less and less effective.  Others begin to experience serious negative side effects from their medications, such as stomach issues.  Massage therapy is a natural pain management alternative.  By decreasing your pain through massage, you can reduce or eliminate your need for drugs over time.  Of course, you should always take your medication as prescribed.  If your doctor has prescribed you daily medication to help manage your pain, you should consult with him/her if you feel your dose needs to be changed.
  5. Massage can help reduce sinus congestion.  If your sinuses are the root of the issue manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) techniques to the face and neck can help drain your sinuses.  MLD is a massage therapy technique that is proven to decrease pain levels when inflammation is present.

Book your massage appointment today!  Call 289-684-4214 or email us.  

Rebecca Henry, RMT has been in practice since 2010.  She offers mobile massage, in-clinic, and corporate massage services.  Insurance receipts are available!

Last updated Feb. 29, 2016

 

 

About the Author

Rebecca Henry, RMT

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