In the United States, 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches – this can be debilitating and typically results from high stress levels and/or lack of sleep. Massage therapy can help as it offers two important benefits to tension headache sufferers: it may help relieve actual headache pain, and it may help prevent headaches by reducing tension and improving circulation.
During a tension headache, muscles of the scalp, jaw and neck are tightly contracted. The blood vessels supplying oxygen to these muscles are constricted, so that the muscles must work with an inadequate supply of nutrients. It is believed that this combination of muscle spasm and inadequate blood supply is the main cause of pain in tension headaches. Massage helps relax the contracted muscles.
Massage can help overcome your body’s response to stress. With the right manipulation of your tense muscles, you may begin to feel stress slipping away. You can consider using massage whenever you are feeling especially tense or anxious, or you may want to have massages on a regular basis, such as once or twice a month. The benefits of massage therapy for treating headaches are many. Research has shown that in respect to headaches, massage can:
- Decrease perceived pain; reduces intensity of pain
- Reduces frequency and duration of headaches
- Allows you to maintain a level of relaxation and stress-relief, reducing the chances of stress induced migraines
- Decreases occurrences of tension headaches, sleep disturbances and distress symptoms
- Can reduce muscle spasms and trigger points
- Increases range of cervical motion
And finally, massage therapy provides a non-pharmocological treatment for headaches, a safe and effective treatment, not just a cover up. However, because there are many potential causes of headaches, (some being a lot more serious than others), you should check with your doctor first to make sure you do not need additional treatment before beginning massage therapy.
Then give us a call, we can help!