is massage good for headaches?Headaches are extremely common, with more than 6 million Australians experiencing some form of headaches on a regular basis. Headaches are also one of the most common reasons Australians give for missing a day of school or work. 

Headaches can have many causal factors including stress, heredity, lack of sleep, infections, diseases, injuries and lifestyle factors. 

What Are Headaches?

Headache is a general term that refers to any type of persistent or long-lasting pain in any region of the head, often experienced behind the eyes, in the upper neck, temples or at the base of the skull. Headaches have a large range of severity and frequency and often come with other symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity, vomiting, and blurred vision. 

A report released by the WHO, showed that recurrent headache disorder affects nearly 47% of adults worldwide affecting their personal health, work productivity and finances. 

Types of Headaches

According to the International Headache Society, headaches can be classified into the following two major categories:

  • Primary Headaches – are the most common (over 90% of headaches are in this category) headaches that are spontaneous in nature and happen without any defined underlying cause.  Cluster headaches, migraine headaches, and tension headaches are the more familiar types of primary headaches. 
  • Secondary Headaches – These headaches result from a range of medical conditions (major or minor). They can be triggered as a result of an underlying condition such as high blood pressure, fever, head injury or trauma, tumor, stroke, stress, medication overuse, nerve disorder, or infection. 

On top of these two major classifications, researchers have identified more than 150 types of headaches that range from common and benign to potentially serious. 

Is Massage Good For Headaches?

According to studies, remedial massage can improve the physiological and psychological state of individuals experiencing tension-type headaches. Remedial massage not only helps decrease the intensity, duration, and frequency of headaches, it also helps ease muscle tension in the neck, shoulders, and jaw – some factors that can trigger headaches in the first place.. 

In order for remedial massage to be effective, the therapist must first assess what muscles are involved. The therapist must also understand the individual’s health history to address if massage is appropriate and will have a positive therapeutic effect. Every client differs in terms of needs and health condition, the type, intensity and duration of the techniques used during massage sessions will ultimately depend on these factors. 

Remedial massage therapists use a number of massage techniques to deal with the different types of headaches, some of the techniques used include:

  • Remedial massage
  • Deep Tissue massage
  • Trigger Point Therapy
  • Cupping
  • Stretches

Some Benefits of Remedial Massage

Remedial massage is a safe drug-free option for treating tension headaches and migraines due to the following reasons:

  • Remedial massage helps promote blood circulation in areas that are ischemic
  • Remedial massage helps release muscles in the neck that are attached at the base of the skull, this helps relieve tension headaches
  • Remedial massage helps regulate some important hormones; it helps decrease the levels of Cortisol (the stress hormones) and increase the release of endorphins (the relaxation promoting hormones)

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