Did you know that headaches shouldn’t be part of your daily life? Often we see companies advertising medicines to manage regular headaches or migraines, making it seem ‘normal’ to get a constant thumping in the head or wake up with a fuzzy feeling. This isn’t normal! More often than not those headaches are caused by over-contracted and tight muscles in the neck and shoulders. This tension is often associated with triggers such as anxiety, stress and postural problems.
Think about this – when you get a headache or migraine does it correlate with a stressful day? Or how about if you’ve had a particularly busy day at the computer or have driven a long distance? Over time this build up of muscular tension spreads into the head and can really affect your daily life, hence why the drug companies do so well at advertising!
Is Massage Therapy Potentially The Answer For Headaches…
Massage therapy can help alleviate headaches and migraines by targeting areas of muscle and tissue that cause these triggers. Some other symptoms of headaches or migraines are ear ache, toothache, eye strain, sensitivity to light and sinus pain. Click HERE to learn more about Massage Therapy.
During a massage therapy session, the therapist will use a variety of techniques to help alleviate headaches, migraines and their symptoms. Some of the most common techniques include deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, and myofascial release. These techniques can help to release tension, increase blood flow, and promote relaxation.
During a massage therapy appointment the therapist will most likely concentrate on a few specific muscles that contribute to headaches and migraines. These muscles include the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and scalp.
Here are some examples of specific muscles that a massage therapist might work on:
- Trapezius muscle: This is a large muscle that extends from the base of the skull to the middle of the back and shoulders. Tightness in this muscle can cause tension headaches and trigger points that refer pain to the head and face.
- Sternocleidomastoid muscle: This muscle runs from the base of the skull, under the ear, to the collarbone and sternum. This muscle often becomes tight if you have postural problems and look down a lot at a phone or computer screen. Tension in this muscle often refers pain into the head and face, particularly on the forehead or behind the eyes.
- Suboccipital muscles: These small muscles are located at the base of the skull, travel down the neck and help to stabilise and support the head. When these muscles are tight or have trigger points, they can cause headaches that feel like they are coming from the base of the skull.
- Scalene muscles: These muscles are located in the front of the neck and help to lift the ribs during breathing. Like the Sternocleidomastoid muscle, the scalenes can also become tight due to poor posture. Tension here can cause pain in the jaw and face.
- Temporalis muscle: This muscle is located on the side of the head, between the eyebrow and ear and above the ear. It is responsible for moving the jaw during chewing, so if you clench or grind your teeth this muscle is likely to be tight!
Overall massage therapy can help to relieve muscle tension and reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches and migraines, don’t let the drug companies tell you otherwise!