Can Massage Relieve Headaches?

November 21, 2018 9:11 pm

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It’s reported that more than 37 million Americans suffer from headaches on a regular basis. Whether the root of the problem is hereditary, environmental or due to lifestyle factors, if you are suffering headache pain you are looking for one thing—relief! Massage therapists are in a great position to help.

So is massage an effective headache help?
Research suggests that even a short massage session of 30 minutes can improve headache pain. For tension headaches many studies report that massage can be a very effective tool to help decrease both the pain and the need for medication. Massage for headaches focuses on loosening and lengthening the muscles in the head and neck, causing a dramatic reduction in headache pain. Many clients report feeling a great deal of headache relief when pressure is placed on the occipital area at the base of the skull and the top of the spine. Other headache relief trigger points include jaw, shoulders, and even hips.

Migraines, on the other hand, are thought of to be the result of the trigeminal nerve getting over excited. When this happens, it causes the release of neurotransmitters, which cause the surrounding blood vessels to enlarge. These blood vessels start pulsating, causing the brain to interpret the sensation as pain.

If you’re a migraine sufferer, you’re all too familiar with the extent and intensity of the pain that comes with it that can lead to missed days of work and compromised time with loved ones. A study conducted at the University of Miami School of Medicine found that migraine sufferers, when allowed massage treatment in addition to their medication routine, not only experienced no migraine headaches during the course of the multi-week study, but they also slept more soundly.

Massage helps relax tense muscles that can lead to migraine pain and helps regulate hormones and improve circulation; both of which play a significant role in those who experience migraines. However, Massage is contra-indicated in the middle of a full blown attack. It is best to incorporate Massage before the Migraine is triggered.

Self-care for Headaches
Get Massage: Getting massage every four to six weeks is important to relieve muscle tension in the body.
Do Something You Enjoy: Since stress can induce headaches, taking some time out of your day to engage in a relaxing activity helps to reduce some of the stress that leads to headaches
Keep Your Body in Mind: Keep your body in mind through proper diet and exercise, including fluid intake. Dehydration is a big cause of headaches, it’s vital to drink sufficient water daily to ensure proper brain function and energy levels
Self-Massage: Ask about some exercises for the eyes, nose, mouth and jaw you can do at home to prevent headaches before they even start. Acupressure points in the hands can be used to relieve headache pain.

If you experience tension headaches or migraines, talk with your massage therapist about where your headache seems to originate, how often you’re getting them, and what you’re currently doing to treat them. He or she might be able to lessen the intensity of and frequency of your head pain, and reduce your need for medication. Always consult your doctor before changing any medication or treatment plans.

Body & Soul Massage in Salem Ma offers Therapeutic Massage for pain relief. Ask us about one of our programs today. 978-825-0040