Headache pain comes in many forms: Tension, sinus, or migraine. You may have tried many fixes such as prescription drugs, painkillers, heating pads, icepacks, gels, lotions, and herbs.
Headache pain can range from a nuisance to debilitating. Either way, headaches drain your energy and take the fun and enjoyment out of your day. What some people don’t realize is that many headaches are merely pain referrals from trigger points, myofascial adhesions, or constrictions in neck and shoulder muscles. Massage therapy can relieve and prevent headaches… without dangerous drugs.
One of the most prevalent causes of headaches is work related computer use. Sitting for long periods with your shoulders slightly raised under pressure to get the inbox empty and your head protruding forward to get a better look at the computer screen creates poor posture. Have you ever thought to yourself I just need a really good stretch? So you tilt your head to one side and then the other in hopes that the dull headache that is growing will magically vanish.
Although stretching is a great thing to do and is part of the solution there are other factors that are contributing to the tension in your neck and shoulders. By the time you are feeling the tension and the headache is starting the tissue in your neck and shoulders is experiencing metabolic changes which result is reduced levels of oxygen.
Did you know that a well-trained massage therapist can pinpoint the muscle(s) that are causing your headache? Our Registered Massage Therapists receive extra training to help pinpoint the root cause of your headache. So if there is only one thing you can remember from this write up please remember that your headache is only a symptom of some other issue. In the case of tension, and some migraine, headaches it is usually pain referrals from muscles in the neck, shoulders, and jaw.
Types of Headaches
There are two common types of headaches…tension and migraine. The majority of headaches are related to tight neck/ shoulder musculature and myofascial trigger points.
Common symptoms include pressing or tightening head pain, pressure or band like tightness, and/ or increased tenderness of neck and shoulder muscles.
A number of factors can contribute to tension headaches including poor posture, mechanical overload, accident trauma, muscular overuse, nutritional imbalances, low hydration, and psychological stress.
Common Locations for Tension Headaches
Many of our patients get fast relief from their headaches. In addition to your massage therapy treatment your therapist will provide effective exercises and stretches to help keep your headaches from returning. The following list highlights common areas of headache pain:
- above the eye
- in the eye
- top of the head
- back of the head
- sides of the head
- upper part of the neck close to skull