Updated: Nov 14
Headaches are unfortunately very common. In fact, Harvard Health says that tension headaches alone occur in 3 out of 4 people. They’re unpleasant and can put a damper on anyone’s day. So, what are the causes of headaches and how can massage therapy help?
As stated before, the most common is a tension headache – and as their name suggests, they’re caused by tension in your body’s muscles. Interestingly, your brain has no pain receptors, so the aching feeling doesn’t come from your brain itself. Tension headaches can be brought on by problems in your jaw or neck muscles. They can also be triggered by increased stress levels or sleep deprivation.
On the other hand, migraines are also unfortunately common, although less so than tension headaches. They’re highly genetic, and like tension headaches, they can be brought on by stress or tiredness. They can also be triggered by weather changes, sensory input (like bright lights), or certain foods such as chocolate, alcohol, or lack thereof - skipping a meal altogether.
Finally, some smaller and shorter headaches are caused by environmental problems and can be one-time events. They include “brain-freezes” from eating cold foods or ice, and exercise headaches from an overly strenuous workout. Others are brought upon by an underlying condition, such as sinusitis or high blood pressure. As you may expect, medical attention is necessary to treat the underlying conditions, not just the symptoms.
Speaking of treatment, there are several remedies (aside from painkillers) that work for mild headaches. Eating a snack, drinking water or a caffeinated beverage, or putting a cold compress on your head can help. Of course, massage therapy can help too!
A massage releases muscle tension in your face, head, neck, and in your whole body, which can relieve a headache as well. Our therapists work with your specific trigger points of tightness to gently release the knots. Muscle pain can cause a vicious cycle of pain and discomfort elsewhere in your body, which a trigger point massage can unwind. This isn’t specific to tension headaches – studies done in both the US and New Zealand show that a massage at least once a week can relieve migraines, make them less frequent, and even help you sleep better!
For example, common trigger points for headaches include those on the inner edge of your eyebrows, on the back of your head, and even on your hands. Due to the interconnectedness of our nervous and muscular systems, pain in one area of your body can lead to pain in others. Our massage therapists work with you and your medical history to develop a holistic treatment plan using both Western and Eastern knowledge and techniques. There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment to help you feel better, so we adapt to your unique needs.
In fact, if you’re in need of pain relief, why not book an appointment with us online? And if you have any questions, feel free to reach out. Remember, while pain may be inevitable, suffering is optional.