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  • Adam Cardona

Headaches & Massage Therapy

Updated: Jan 10

At some point in each of our lives, all of us have experienced a headache. The throbbing, tight, achy feeling you get that makes everything seem more difficult to do. Coming down with a headache could be the thing that ruins your day, yet we don’t always know what caused it yet we have to deal with it when it shows up. Knowing how to take care of a headache or what type of headache you are feeling can help you take better care of yourself. The source of a headache can come from many different triggers but one thing is for sure, you’ll want it to end as soon as possible. You might just take an aspirin to get rid of the pain but that doesn’t mean you got rid of the source, so understanding what to do is the best way to do your best to prevent more headaches from occurring.

First, make sure that your headache is not an indication that you have a worse health complication since in some cases it could be a warning sign of something greater. If you're not sure if the headache is a sign of something worse then its best to check with your doctor before it becomes a problem. Some types of headaches that appear because of a greater issue include but are not limited to tumors, headaches, head trauma, neck disorders & TMJ disorder. Once you understand that it is not a symptom of a bigger problem then you can begin to take the proper preventative measures.

Not every headache is the same which means how it presents itself might just tell you how to take care of the issue. An example of this would be if you ever have had a Sinus headache it usually happens due to congestion, irritation or inflammation in the sinus area. If it comes from congestion of the sinuses it can be made better with the use of essential oils such as pine and peppermint put into a diffuser and/or a light massage over the face to help release the area. If you know how to perform self-massage you could even massage the area on your own.

Migraines, tension headaches, & sinus headaches are the most common types of headaches that people experience. In some cases, these headaches can be made better or prevented with proper care.

A tension headache is a pressing hard or bound tight feeling that occurs on both sides of the head. Tension headaches are headaches more common in people between the ages of 20 - 40 years old. The intensity of a tension headache is usually mild to moderate and doesn’t get worse with mild physical activity. Overall, tension headaches tend to be the most common form of a headache; with some people developing a chronic case of tension headaches over time.

While there is not one overall cause that causes a tension headache some of the causes come from mental stress, muscular tension, anxiety, and dehydration. This means that lifestyle is related to these common causes. Meaning that a large percentage of the headaches we experience come from how we live our life. The good news is that if some of our headaches come from our lifestyle then the small changes made in your lifestyle can reduce the number of headaches.

It is then safe to say that tension headaches could be reduced by drinking more fluids, taking up practices that still our minds and reduce our stress such as Tai Chi, meditation, or making sure that we regularly stretch the body and release the muscles with massage.

Massage therapy has been found to help reduce the intensity and number of headaches experienced. Muscles in the head, face, neck, and shoulders can get tense and that tension can create the feelings of a headache. We instinctively know this, ever had a headache and you go to rub the temples of your head? Well, that is massage therapy for a headache on a very minor level. Now instead if you let a professional spend 30 minutes or an hour in that area you can see significant results in reducing the tension. Sometimes issues such as TMJ disorder, or forward neck posture (a.k.a. “text neck”) can also cause headaches as a side effect. Massage Therapy can help relieve the headache that comes as a side effect from these issues.

Migraine headaches, however, are a more complicated issue. The Mayo Clinic (a scientific research organization) describes a migraine as “severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It's often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.” Migraine headaches can last for several hours or days and limit your ability to accomplish even the simplest of tasks. Scientists have not found massage therapy to be beneficial for the treatment migraines though massage is found to be helpful with the treatment of tension headaches.

If you get reoccurring migraines then it might be best to go have a medical doctor examine your symptoms. If you are not sure what to report to your doctor aside from that you are having migraines here is what you should report. Make a record of your migraines, how you treated each one, how often do they occur, what is the intensity and any other symptoms aside from the migraine happen when you suffer from the migraines. A record of this information presented to your doctor can help them better care for you.

Knowing how to take care of a headache can mean the difference between drinking some water letting it pass, getting a small minor treatment or heading out to receive emergency care. Make sure you are always doing what is best to feel as good as you can possibly feel.


Possible causes for headaches:

Nerve disorders

Dehydration

Muscular tension

Stress (physical or mental)

Anxiety

TMJ disorder

Tooth pain