Massage Therapy for Headaches

headacheAn estimated 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches, and whether the headache is tension-related or a full-blown migraine, massage therapy may help.

Chronic headaches are one of the most common complaints made to healthcare professionals each year. Headaches are most often treated with over-the-counter or prescription medication. While these treatments are effective, they can be a temporary solution for a chronic problem.

Most headaches fall into one of two categories: tension and migraine. Tension headaches can be caused by stress, dehydration, muscle spasms, trigger points, eye strain, hormonal changes, neck misalignment, or TMJ.

Migraine headaches can be caused by many factors, like chemical and hormonal changes, neurological issues, vascular problem, environmental irritants, blood sugar regulation and a host of other non-specific causes. These headaches are often severe and can last for days. Unlike a tension headache, they may come with nausea and a sensitivity to light and/or sound.

“There was a reduction in the number of headaches each week among those that received massage.” AJPH, Quinn, 2002

Both types of headache have been effectively treated by targeted massage therapy. For tension headaches, massage can help loosen tight muscles, especially those related to balance, neck alignment and rotation. It can help regulate certain hormones, decrease trigger point pain, and increase circulation and blood flow to areas that may be lacking blood flow.

For migraine suffers, multiple studies have shown that targeted massage therapy was shown to decrease the frequency and duration of headaches.

Generally, a program of regular maintenance (biweekly massage, for example) is most effective in stopping and preventing headaches.

If you’re a chronic headache sufferer, check with your doctor and then drop by for a relaxing, pain-relieving massage session. This non-invasive, non-medical service will leave you refreshed and with less pain, without the side effects!