There is nothing worse than feeling a headache coming on — especially one that’s caused by tension that can feel dull or heavy with a non-pulsating band of pain. Tension-type headaches can literally stop you in your tracks, and are the most common headache — even more common than migraines. This is where tension headache relief massage can help: to reduce your tension headaches, with zero side effects from medications. The benefits are countless and designed to leave you feeling rested and restored.
What Can Cause Tension Headaches?
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke describes a tension headache as being caused by “jaw clenching, intense work, missed meals, depression, anxiety, or too little sleep. Sleep apnea may also cause tension-type headaches, especially in the morning. The pain is usually mild to moderate and feels as if constant pressure is being applied to the front of the face or to the head or neck. It also may feel as if a belt is being tightened around the head.”
Even though it is hard to pinpoint exactly why we get tension headaches there are a few things that may be causing them, including:
- Sustained postures
- Skipping Meals
- Perfectionist Personality
- Clenched Jaw
- Muscle Tension
- Eye Strain
- Bone Misalignment
- Other Misalignments
How Does Tension Headache Relief Massage Work?
Camino Massage therapists are trained to find areas in the head, neck and shoulders that feel like a nodule within a tight area of muscle, or a tender spot that radiates up into the neck and head. This pain happens because areas receptors in the skin and muscle pick up tension in this area, which feeds into our nervous system and makes it more sensitive.
All of our therapists know how to identify these tender spots and use techniques — such as light to deep strokes, holding on the tender spot until it reduces, and using muscle energy techniques — to help desensitize those tender areas.
These techniques demonstrate that working on those areas can reduce your tension headaches. In fact, researchers found that massage therapy was effective in reducing tension headaches after twelve 45-minute massage sessions in a six-week period.
A few additional types of massage we offer to relieve tension headaches include the following:
With its ability to break up muscular adhesions, sports massages can provide relief that takes a load off compressed nerves. Sports massage can also improve posture, which prevents the constant pull on the trapezius that often causes tension headaches.
A relaxing massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. When activated, this part of the nervous system counters the body’s responses to stress. It lowers heart rate, improves respiration, and releases a surge of feel good hormones while inhibiting the production of stress hormones. Serotonin, one of the mood stabilizing chemicals released, plays a major role in pain relief. Levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that triggers headaches, lessen when the body relaxes.
A massage of the facial tissue, especially the area between your jaw and cheek bone, can relieve headaches caused by bruxism (grinding teeth). A stiff masseter (muscle connecting the mandible to the cheek bone) can also lead to stiffness in other muscles in the head, neck and shoulders.
What Are the Short- and Long-term Benefits of a Tension Relief Massage?
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, Tension Relief Massage can provide the following benefits:
- Decreases occurrences of tension headaches.
- Reduces in-sleep disturbances and distress symptoms.
- Allows one to maintain a level of relaxation and stress-relief, reducing the chances of stress induced migraines.
- Reduces muscle spasms and trigger points.
- Decreases depression and/or anxiety.
- Lowers perceived pain.
- Lessens intensity.
- Shortens duration.
- Decreases medication usage.
- Increases range of cervical motion.
. . .
No matter what may be causing your tension headaches, we recommend both getting to the source of the issue and getting the muscular issues addressed.
Here at Camino Massage, we would be happy to talk with you about your needs and work alongside you to provide healing, both mental and physical. Go ahead and book an appointment today!