The next time you reach for the Advil at the onset of a headache, think about how massage therapy can help you remedy the pain.
Massage therapy can decrease the frequency and severity of headaches in a number of different ways. But before you seek treatment for recurring headaches, it’s important to identify the type of headache you might be experiencing.
Headaches present in different ways for different people, and their effects can vary. Massage therapy can decrease the frequency and severity of headaches by decreasing muscular tension. It increases circulation and improves postural imbalances.
Primary headaches mean that the headache itself is the condition while secondary headaches are triggered by another condition or circumstance (i.e. whiplash or muscular tension).
Common headaches that massage therapy can treat:
- Spinally mediated headaches: this headache comes from tension in the upper to mid-back and neck. Muscle tension and stress can cause abnormal nerve firing; this can cause skeletal muscles and vertebrae to pull out of position. As a result, muscles like the ones that support the spine are forced to stabilize against this shift in the body, and the result is tension and imbalance.
- Temporomandibular headaches: these are caused by dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is located in the law. It’s usually accompanied by jaw pain and sometimes a restriction in the jaw’s range of motion. These headaches present through the sides of the head and into the temples. They can be relieved with massage therapy that focused on TMJ.
- Chronic daily headaches: this type of headache is ongoing, happens almost daily but the level of pain you feel fluctuates. Individuals find that these headaches frequently disturb sleep, increase stress levels and cause irritability.
Massage therapy is an effective treatment for headaches because it focuses on reducing bodily stress and tension to affected muscles groups. It also flushes out and circulates blood flow to muscles. A massage therapist will also ensure the spine and neck release tension.
Often, massage therapists will employ TMJ work to assist the jaw in becoming more mobile and breathing exercises to help diminish the effects of referred pain. They’ll also help you with self-care techniques such as stretching and hydrotherapy to ensure long-lasting relief outside of the massage treatment.
If you’re moving through headaches on a regular basis, our registered massage therapists, Kaitlyn and Paige, are here for you. Book an appointment today!