In the United States alone, more than 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches. A headache is defined as pain occurring in any region of the head or upper neck. The pain from headaches can be anywhere from a constant dull ache to a sharp, pulsing jab, resulting in transforming even the simplest of activities into a painful, difficult chore.
Most headaches fall into a category called “primary headaches” – headaches resulting from over-activity of pain-sensitive structures in your head. This includes migraines and tension headaches, both of which can be caused by a myriad of factors (not least of which are high stress levels and/or lack of sleep) and both of which can be effectively treated with massage therapy.
Tension headaches can be caused by muscle spasms, stress, trigger points, TMJ dysfunction, neck misalignment, stress, hormonal/chemical changes, dehydration, anxiety and more. They often present as a tightness or constricting feeling in the head, pain in the jaw, or as pain around the temple and behind the eyes. Sometimes they cause referred pain, causing the neck, shoulders and arms to ache as well.
Migraines are type of severe headache often accompanied by nausea and sensitivities to light and sound. What causes them is still relatively unknown, but one thing is for sure – when you suffer from migraines your life goes on hold.
Luckily, both migraines and tension headaches can be effectively treated through massage therapy. Not only can massage bring you almost immediate relief from the pain, in many cases it can also prevent these types of headaches from reoccurring.
How Massage Can Help Your Headache
Massage Therapy can give immediate relief to those suffering from headaches by
- reducing pain
- relaxing and removing muscle spasms
- relieving trigger points
- reducing stress
- improving sleep patterns
- promoting circulation
Massage treatments performed on a regular basis can help the body maintain an optimal level of relaxation and stress-relief. This, in turn, can reduce the chances of migraine attacks and tension headaches significantly
According to studies done by the American Massage Therapy Association, tension headache massage can also
- reduce depression and/or anxiety
- decrease perceived pain
- decrease anger status
- decrease tension
- reduce frequency
- reduce intensity
- reduce duration
- decrease medication usage
- increase range of cervical motion
Please note, there are MANY potential causes of headaches, and if you’re suffering from chronic headaches, please check with your doctor or qualified physician.
If you’re suffering from tension headaches and/or migraines, Pharaoh Bodyworks can help. We specialize in a number of modalities uniquely suited to relieving headache/migraine pain, and can help break the pattern of recurring symptoms.
Pharaoh Bodyworks is a Los Angeles County-based massage therapy service whose primary aim is to free your body from pain. Move, perform, and feel better today!
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