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Relieve Headaches with Massage Therapy

There are few things worse than a headache that just won’t go away. If you find yourself in that position, the good news is that massage therapy may be just what you need to find relief and go about your day free from the pains of a headache. 

Massage therapy has been proven to be an effective method not only for headache pain relief, but also headache prevention. If you suffer from frequent or recurring headaches, massage therapy could be the answer. 

Let’s explore the various types of headaches, and how massage therapy can help. 

Common Headaches  

Tension Headaches 

Tension headaches are a very common affliction, with approximately 20% of people suffering from a tension headache at any given time. 

These headaches are typically rather mild and can often be treated with over-the-counter pain relief medications. Tension headaches can occur on an infrequent, frequent, or chronic basis, and they can be triggered by a range of factors including muscle tension, eye strain, and musculoskeletal imbalances. 

Vascular Headaches 

Vascular headaches are those headaches that you might associate with a “pounding” feeling. These headaches usually involve more severe pain than tension headaches, and they tend to be longer-lasting – around three to four hours rather than an hour or so.  

Vascular headaches include: 

  • Classic migraines. This sort of headache involves blurry vision, head pain, perception of flashing lights, and sometimes auditory hallucinations. Classic migraines can also be associated with numbness, difficulty speaking, and muscle weakness. 
  • Aura-less migraines. Unlike classic migraines, these migraines do not involve any pre-headache symptoms (like blurry vision). These headaches involve throbbing one-sided pain, nausea, and sometimes fluid dripping from the nose and eyes. 
  • Cluster headaches. Cluster headaches occur more frequently at nighttime, affecting men more than women and often occurring with little to no warning. They’re associated with intense pain that begins around the eye and may radiate toward the head, neck, and shoulders. They may include droopy eyelids, redness, swelling, or sweating. 
  • Sinus headaches. These headaches include pain in the cheekbones, forehead, or nose. They may also come with a runny nose, ringing in the ears, face swelling, or fevers. 

Massage Therapy as a Method to Prevent and Relieve Headaches 

Professional massage therapy has been proven to aid in both treating and preventing headaches. The chosen technique may vary depending on the type of headache, the severity, and the frequency of headaches experienced. 

The most common and effective forms of massage therapy for headache relief include: 

Deep Tissue Massage 

Massage delivered using firm pressure alongside slow strokes work to massage deeper layers of muscle, effectively relaxing strained muscles that may be triggering the headaches.  

By applying deep and gliding targeted motions with the knuckles or thumbs, deep tissue massage effectively works the facial muscles in an intentional way to relieve pain and prevent future headaches. This firm pressure produces compression that helps to manage the pain affecting specific areas of the head. 

Trigger Point Massage 

Similar to deep tissue massage, trigger point massage works to relax strained muscles through direct pressure. However, trigger point massage is executed in brief bursts rather than in long, gliding motions. 

Applying pressure for brief moments in the head and neck region can be very beneficial in relieving migraine pains felt in the upper region of the head, namely around the eyes or at the temple.  

Individualized Massage Therapy for Headache Relief 

The most effective massage therapy for headache relief and prevention is personalized according to your specific affliction and pain points. Consult with a professional massage therapist to determine exactly what form of massage is right for you in order to relieve those pains and improve your day-to-day quality of life. 

Looking for a massage therapist to help alleviate your head pains? Contact us at Meadowlands Physiotherapy today.