June 6, 2023

Using Massage Therapy to Prevent Headaches

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Headaches are a pretty common occurrence that many people deal with. If you suffer from them, you know that headaches can range in severity from slight annoyance to downright debilitating. But did you know that incorporating massage therapy into your wellness routine can be a natural and effective way to prevent them?

Primary Headaches vs Secondary Headaches

Headaches are typically characterized by a throbbing, constant, sharp, or dull pressure in the head or face. People experience various types of headaches; there are over 150 different types of headaches that fall into two categories: Primary and Secondary headaches.

Primary Headaches

Primary headaches are typically triggered by the dysfunction or overuse of pain-sensitive features in your head; these headaches are not a symptom or indication of an underlying medical condition, but some people are genetically predisposed to experiencing primary headaches.

Primary headaches can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, tension, poor posture, and lack of sleep. Your lifestyle can also be a trigger for headaches; not eating enough can cause headaches, as can certain foods and alcohol (like red wine). Some headaches can be triggered by your regular activities, including sitting with poor posture, coughing, exercise, and even sex.

Some of the more frequently experienced types of headaches include:

  • Tension headaches: The most common type of headache, often caused by stress, anxiety, and muscle tension in the neck and shoulders.
  • Migraines: A type of headache that is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual disturbances; they can be caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal changes, certain foods, and stress.
  • Cluster headaches: A type of headache that occurs in cycles, and is often characterized by severe pain on one side of the head, along with other symptoms such as eye watering and nasal congestion.

Secondary Headaches

Secondary headaches are headaches caused by an underlying medical condition. Some secondary headaches are serious and can be a symptom or indication that something else is seriously wrong, while others are less dangerous and can be resolved by treating the condition that is causing them. Some of these less dangerous secondary headaches include:

  • Sinus headaches: Headaches caused by inflammation in the sinuses, and often accompanied by other symptoms such as congestion and facial pain.
  • Dehydration headaches: Headaches caused by failing to drink enough water or get enough fluids, often accompanied by other symptoms of dehydration like dizziness and dry mouth.
  • Rebound headaches: Headaches caused by overuse of pain medications; can occur when you take pain relievers too frequently or in high doses.

Massage Therapy for Headaches

While over-the-counter pain relievers can provide temporary relief from headaches, they do not address the root cause of the problem. Regular massage therapy, on the other hand, can help alleviate headaches by addressing the underlying issues that cause them.

A common cause of headaches is tension in the jaw, neck, and shoulders. A massage relaxes these muscles and trigger points, reducing tension and stress in the body. Regular massage therapy also helps to improve circulation, promote relaxation, and keeps your nervous system at an optimum state of relaxation, all of which can contribute to reducing the frequency and intensity of headaches.

Regular massage therapy can provide several benefits for headache sufferers. Some of the most significant benefits include:

  • Reduced frequency and intensity of headaches: Regular massage therapy can help reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches by addressing the underlying issues that cause them.
  • Improved sleep: Many people who suffer from headaches have trouble sleeping, which can in turn intensify headaches. Regular massage therapy can help improve sleep quality by reducing stress and tension in the body.
  • Reduced stress and anxiety: Massage therapy can help reduce stress and anxiety, which are common triggers for headaches.

Knowing the causes of your headaches can help you tailor the type of massage therapy you receive to treat them. Massages that target the muscles and areas of the body where tension builds up, like our Therapeutic Relaxation, can help prevent tension headaches. If your headaches are the result of everyday stress, massages that promote relaxation and calm, like our Serenity massage, can help to counter the stress and mental triggers of headaches.

Your massage therapist at Mindful Touch Massage & Spa can help you further pick the right kind of massage for your headaches. If you’re looking to use massage to treat and prevent headaches, contact us so we can help you tailor a massage therapy routine to best suit your wellness goals or to book a massage.

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