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Headaches and Massage Therapy

We have all had headaches, however chronic headaches can be a distressing way of life for many people. Continually coping with pain can and will diminish the quality of life that a person experiences at work and at home. Therapeutic massage can be a powerful ally against chronic headache pain.

Therapeutic Massage can reduce headache pain by:

  • Relieving muscle tension

  • Reducing stress

  • Promote healing of injuries

What type of Headache do you have?

Tension Headache – This is the most common type of headache and is often due to muscle tension of the head, neck and shoulders. This headache is accompanied by pain or band like patterns of pressure around the head and neck. They are often due to prolonged tight contracted muscles, creating trigger points in the muscles themselves. The tightness is often due to postural problems or stress.

Migraine Headaches – Migraines are typically intense, one-sided pain in the head, face, jaw and neck. They can last for hours to days, can be accompanied by nausea, dizziness, fatigue, sensitivity to light and sound. Contributing factors can be stress, lack of sleep, hormonal changes, food allergies, not eating regularly, medications, loud noises and bright lights.

Neck Injuries – Headaches can be caused by muscle and ligament injuries in the neck. This can happen from whiplash injuries or repetitive motions of the head such as sitting at a computer or driving for long periods of time. Causing muscle tightness, scar tissue formation, which can lead to difficulty with moving the head and neck, poor blood flow, trigger point development and pain in the head and neck.

Other types of headaches:

Cluster headaches – occur in a series and then disappear for months.

Rebound headaches – are caused by accumulated toxins from prescription medicines or food.

Ocular Migraines – there are two kinds; one is not serious and one requires medical attention:

  • Migraine Aura – Is a headache accompanied with changes in vision such as flashes of light, zig zag patterns, shimmering spots, blind spots and stars.

  • Retinal Migraine – Is a headache accompanied by short bouts of diminished vision or blindness more often in one eye. This requires medical attention and is indicative of other medical conditions.

Other causes of headache are conditions such as; Sinusitis, allergies, TMJ dysfunction, high blood pressure, tumors, strokes and diabetes.

It is important, if you suffer from chronic or severe headaches unlike anything you have ever experienced before, that you get medical attention as soon as possible. This may indicate an emergency.

How can massage help?

Massage to the head, neck and shoulders can reduce muscle tightness and relieve trigger points that are often the cause of radiating pain. Massage to the face can reduce the symptoms of sinusitis, allergies and TMJ dysfunction. A skilled massage therapist can facilitate healing if there are injured muscles, reducing swelling and move congestion that are causing pain, as well as, improve movement of the head, neck and shoulders.

Massage can be used as a preventative measure for migraine headaches, by reducing physical and mental stress. This can reduce headache frequency and intensity with which they manifest.

Massage therapy can be a powerful ally when it comes to coping with headaches. It works on multiple levels, physically, emotionally and spiritually. When you pain is reduced you can enjoy ease of movement, a renewed sense of wellness, and an increased happiness at work, play and in family life.

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