Headache pain can be caused by stress, eye strain, sinus infections, hormonal changes, muscle tension, and neurological causes. Whatever your cause, taking over-the-counter or prescription pain medications to ease your symptoms is only a temporary solution. Not only do they not get at the source of your pain, but they can also overstress your system if you use them too often.
Massage therapy offers a safe and effective alternative to pills when it comes to solving many types of headache pain. Massage can stimulate active trigger points, which helps to relieve chronic tension headaches. Massage therapy can also help some people who suffer from chronic migraines.
Headache types responsive to massage
Massage is especially effective for tension headaches and migraines. You feel tension headaches on both sides of your head and they typically last 30-60 minutes. If you get more than 15 tension headaches per month, they’re considered chronic. Muscle tension, eye strain, and other musculoskeletal imbalances are usually the cause.
Migraines indicate a problem involving nerve pathways and brain chemicals. Migraines can be debilitating, as they’re often intensely painful and can last for hours or days. You may also experience nausea, dizziness, and sensitivity to stimulation during a migraine attack.
Massage uses touch therapy to manipulate the soft tissues of the body. You may experience rubbing, kneading, stroking, tapping, and pressure, depending on the type of massage and intention of the therapy.
Massage that concentrates on headache pain may focus on the neck, shoulder, and temple trigger points. Relieving bound up tissue in these areas can help ease headache pain. Total body massage can also release other reflex points that contribute to your headache pain.
How massage helps
Massage relieves tension and stress, two of the major causes of headache pain. Headaches often occur due to over-tightening of the muscles of your head, face, and neck. Massage therapy releases tense muscles and muscle spasms, improves circulation, and helps you relax.
When this tension eases, it puts less pressure on the nerves that supply the head, easing your pain.
Massage prevents headaches
You can head off headaches with massage therapy, too. With regular massage therapy, you reduce your overall stress level and keep muscle tension to a minimum. This means fewer triggers for headache pain.
Best types of massage for headaches
Therapeutic massage techniques, including deep tissue and trigger point, show promise when it comes to combating headache pain. Deep tissue massage involves slow stroking actions that penetrate the deeper layers of your muscles. The therapist may also use their thumbs or knuckles to get deep into the muscles around your face.
Trigger point massage involves applying direct pressure to specific sites on strained muscles. The temples, the base of the skull, and under the eyebrow bone are common trigger points for relieving headache pain.
At One Accord Physical Therapy, with four Arizona locations, you can explore massage therapy as a drug-free solution to headaches. Call the office or book an appointment online to meet with one of our skilled therapists.