How Massage and Osteopathy Can Relieve Headaches

Can Massage Relieve the Pain of Headaches? 

Whenever a client comes to us in pain, our Registered Massage Therapists want to do their best to relieve that pain. Headaches are no exception. Since they’re such a common ailment, we often have clients come to us seeking to lessen their headaches and migraines. 

Massage may reduce the duration, intensity, and experience of headache pain in the short and long-term. According to a study on the effects of massage published in the American Journal of Public Health, chronic tension headaches can be greatly lessened within one week of receiving massage therapy. We’ve seen the results of massage therapy and osteopathy on all aspects of wellbeing for our clients, including those who suffer from headaches and migraines. 

Finding the Root Causes of Pain 

Before beginning massage treatment, it’s important that we know what’s causing the headaches. Pain can come from many different sources, and to create an ongoing treatment plan, we need to be able to fully address the root cause of the symptoms. This may include “homework” to take home, such as drinking more water throughout the day, applying cold compresses to your eyes, or even self-massage techniques to take home for when a headache comes on. 

Your Therapeutic Body Concepts therapist will most likely ask you a few basic questions to learn more about your headaches, including the type of pain (sharp, pounding), the location of the pain (distributed, behind the eyes, top of the head), and when and how they come on (end of the day, rapid onset). Once he or she understands what the problem is, a treatment plan can be fully coordinated to help relieve headaches long-term. 

Causes of Headaches & Migraines

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches aren’t typically long-lasting and can be treated with over the counter medication. However, they can be frequent or chronic, which can get in the way of daily life. In many cases, bone and muscle misalignments can be to blame. 

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches can go on for months, with periods of “attacks” lasting hours. These headaches tend to start behind the eye and spread. 

Vascular Headaches

If you’ve ever said you had a “pounding” headache, it was likely a vascular headache caused by swelling or constructing of the blood vessels or nerves. 

Sinus Headaches

If you have ongoing sinus issues, you know the pain of the headaches that come with the pressure that builds in your sinuses. These types of headaches tend to start around the nose and cheekbones. 

Aura Migraines 

These migraines can be debilitating, and they often come with visual impacts such as blurred visions, lights, or “auras” of light around objects. It’s unclear what causes migraines, but they can be impacted by stress levels, sleep levels, light levels, and certain types of medication. 

Massage Therapy & Manual Osteopathy for Headaches

Both manual osteopathy and massage therapy techniques can help reduce the pain associated with headaches. A few techniques that work well for headache relief include: 

Acupuncture can also help release pain from headaches and other common ailments. 

Not sure where to start? Get in touch with our qualified Registered Massage Therapists to assess your headache causes and start a personalized treatment plan. 

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