Can massage help with headaches?

“This project is such a headache!”

 

They’re so common that the term has become synonymous with an annoyance, but what are headaches, really? And can massage therapy really help?

Different types, different causes.

Headaches are pretty easily defined, and we all know one when we feel it: it’s a pain in the head. But not all headaches are created equal.

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, with pain occurring on both sides of the head without other symptoms. The pain can range from very mild to severe.

Migraine headaches are often pulsing, and can be accompanied by nausea, dizziness, sensitivity to light and sound, and hallucinations. Some people experience migraines only rarely, while other people experience them on an almost daily basis.

Cluster headaches are less common, and are generally experienced as severe pain around one eye. “Cluster periods,” during which many headaches occur during a period of time, are interspersed with longer periods without any symptoms.

Secondary headaches are not conditions themselves, but are symptoms of other conditions. These conditions can be as everyday as a sinus infection or conjunctivitis (pink-eye), or more serious, like traumatic brain injury or meningitis. While the pain from secondary headaches can be managed, it’s important to focus on getting the appropriate medical treatment for the underlying condition.

Headaches and massage

The good:

Tension headaches, the type of headaches people are most likely to experience, seem to respond well to massage therapy. Not only does massage seem to reduce pain in the moment, but regular massage therapy also appears to increase the amount of time between headaches for those who experience them on a chronic basis. This could be a result of helping to manage stress or underlying mechanical issues that can result in headaches, but there’s no solid science yet on precisely why massage helps, only that it does.

More good news! It probably doesn’t surprise anyone that folks who experience regular headaches are also more likely to experience high levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. Studies have found that massage can help with these issues not just in the general population, but also specifically in people who live with chronic headaches.

Some people with secondary headaches can also benefit from massage. People with fibromyalgia, for example, who often experience headaches as part of their condition, can experience both pain and stress relief with regular massage therapy. While massage during a flare-up of symptoms may need to be modified to be more gentle, some people find that it can provide relief both for headache as well as for pain throughout the body.

The bad:

Massage therapy is wonderful and often helpful, but it’s not a cure for headaches. While some people just need a bit of rest or a drink of water (dehydration is a surprisingly common headache cause), other people continue to experience headaches all their lives. While people who experience headaches caused by stress or muscular tension can absolutely benefit from massage, migraines triggered by things like foods or hormonal changes probably won’t see an impact.

The ugly: 

There are some times when getting a massage for headaches isn’t just unhelpful, it’s actually dangerous. Most often, this is related to secondary headaches. Fevers, as an example, often cause headaches as well as achy joints that could lead someone to want to receive massage, but this not only risks overly stressing a body that’s already fighting off an infection, it also has the possibility of spreading the illness to the massage therapist and anyone else they come into contact with. Headaches resulting from a recent head, neck, or back injury could also be made worse by a well-meaning massage therapist.

When there is the possibility of pain being caused by an illness or injury, it’s always best to seek out a physician’s opinion first. They can provide or recommend appropriate care for the issue causing the headache in the first place, and at that point you can ask them about whether it would be a good idea to receive a massage. Safe is always better than sorry!

Headaches can be a real, well, headache. But there’s help.

Sometimes a little change of environment is all that’s needed. If you have a headache and have been hunched over a computer for hours, try a stretch. A quick walk outside or a brief nap can help with a headache caused by eye strain. If you haven’t eaten or drunk anything all day, do that. It’s easy to get caught up in the business of our lives and forget to take care of our own basic needs.

For those who can take them, over the counter painkillers like ibuprofen or aspirin can be helpful in treating a headache. Sometimes caffeine is recommended as well. For stronger headaches, medications prescribed by a physician can be a lifesaver to many people, enabling them to function at work and with their families when they might otherwise have been left incapacitated.

And then there’s massage therapy, of course. It’s not a magical cure-all, but for many people, it really does help manage the pain and stress of headaches. Are you one of them? Schedule your next massage, and let’s find out together.

Beyond your treatment

Massage treatments are effective in relieving pain, and providing comfort at the time, however it is important to consider the advice offered to you by your therapist to ensure long term relief and improvement.
Educating our clients on ways to reduce the instance of pain or injury is very important to us, so we have decided to offer up for dowload a series of informational articles covering the most common complaints we hear at the clinic.

To review our list of documents and download your own copy please visit our Self Help page.

If you have any ailments you would like to see an article on, please let us know and we'll write one up for you.

Recovery and long term relief is our goal, and we want to do what we can to help you reach that goal.

Service Industry Discount Day!

Having worked in the Service Industry myself for many years, I know how much of a stressfull and thankless job it can be. So to honor those who deal with this type of work day in and day out, I am introducing "Service Industry Discount Day".
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Muscles: The Trapezius

Are you slouching? I know that's one problem I have as I spending so much time in front of a computer. I can tell when my slouch is bad too, because my shoulders are practically up at my ears. This "Elevation" of your shoulders can be caused by several muscles, but one of the main muscles whose action is "elevation" of the shoulder is your Trapezius and more specifically, the "Upper Trapezius".
Read More

Special Offer: Limited Time Only

For a limited time only, receive a Hot Stone Therapy massage for the same price of your regular massage.

A hot stone therapy can:
    * boost your circulation
    * release stored tension
    * recharge your energy levels
    * relax you.

Hot stone therapy can offer health benefits for people with:
    * muscular pain
    * poor circulation
    * rheumatic and arthritic conditions
    * fibromyalgia
    * multiple sclerosis (MS)
    * back pain
    * stress
    * insomnia
    * depression.

As with all massage therapies, you should never underestimate the feel-good factor. Hot stone massage will make you feel nurtured, pampered and special.

Hot & Cold Stone Therapy now Available

Over the last few months many clients have asked about the availability of Hot Stone Massage.


I am pleased to announce that we now offer Hot and Cold Stone therapy treatments eithehr as a stand alone  service, or in conjunction with our regular massage.


There are several different methods of using stones in a Massage treatment.

Placement: Placement involves positioning the stones on certain areas of the body, and resting them there to allow the heat to penetrate the muscle tissue and assist in relaxing the muscles to allow deeper penetration when massaging those areas.


Gliding and massage: Effective hot stone massage  uses tthe stones as tools to deliver effective tissue and muscle masage at a pressure level that the client is cmofortable with.


The heat from the stones relaxes muscles andincreases blood flow to the  area beeing worked, assisting in the acceleration of the healing process.


Call now to book your next massage session, and why not ask for Hot Stones to be incorporated into your session.

As a warm up for winter, why not have a relaxing hot stone massage to help fight off those winter chills and the stressors of the holiday season.


Caught in the rain?

Now that rainy season is here, the chances of you getting caught in the rain while out running errands in Bathgate is pretty high. Why not pop into the clinic on North Bridge Street, warm up, dry off and enjoy a relaxing 10 minute chair massage for just £5??
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West Lothian Business Directory Savings Card

This is an amazing deal, that won't ever be offered again, or with any other savings card scheme or promotion. The West Lothian Business Directory has just been published, and there is an amazing offer from Wee Sally Therapeutic Massage on page 12.
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Police Federation Discount Scheme

Wee Sally's Therapeutic Massage clinic is a proud member of the new Police Federation Savings card scheme.
We are offering a £5 discount on massages of 60 mins or more each time you show your Discount Card.

We look forward to your business, and help in finding you relief from pain and injury.

Back to School at last!

The summer holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the years for parents.
Between having to keep the kids entertained for 7 weeks, planning a summer getaway and juggling your job on top of all that.
Now the sweet little cherubs are back at school again, and finally you can let out a sigh of relief.

The following article from Massage 101 describes how Stress can affect your life, and the positive benefits of receiving a massage to help handle stress in your life:
Prolonged periods of stress can negatively affect many systems of the body.

Stress has been shown to aggravate, or even cause, such problems as heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, memory loss and decreased immune function. But it doesn’t just contribute to physical ailments. Stress can sap joy from your life, cause seemingly inexplicable fatigue, and leave you less able to enjoy your relationships and leisure activities.

Loved ones can become unfortunate victims of stress in your life. You will find yourself less patient and less able to mentally engage with the people you care about.

Massage therapy is one of the best antidotes for stress. We know this is true on an intuitive level. If even the untrained hands of a friend or partner can soothe aches and pains, and diminish anxiety, then imagine the effect of a therapeutic massage by a trained practitioner. Even the rituals of massage come as a welcome break from our hurried lives: dimmed lights, soothing music, the pleasant fragrance of a mild oil or candle - even without massage, these might help you relax. But coupled with the right massage techniques,  you’ll actually feel the stress leaving.

Massage boosts the body’s immune system, which can become compromised from extended periods of stress. Tension can build up in the muscles, causing a decrease in circulation and nutrient delivery to tissues.

Manipulation of the soft tissue decreases muscular tension, increases removal of metabolic waste and promotes nutrient delivery to healing tissue. Knots in your muscles can inhibit your ability to perform regular, daily tasks. As other parts of your body try to compensate for the ache of a tight muscle, they also start to become tight and uncomfortable. Before long, an injury that began in your neck can trace to your shoulder, down your arm and into your wrist. The reaction chain can take innumerable forms, but none of them are pleasant.

In short, with a therapeutic massage stress can be significantly reduced. This, in turn, will increase energy, improve your outlook on life, and in the process boost your immune system function. Coupled with modest changes in nutrition and activity levels, massage can be the start of a profound change for the better in your health and well-being.

http://www.massagetherapy101.com/massage-therapy/massage-therapy-and-stress-reduction.aspx

So why not book yourself in with me and treat yourself to a massage to unwind from the stressful holiday season?