Common Headache Types and How Massage Therapy Helps

Most of us have been through a headache before, and it’s never an enjoyable time. For those who deal with these issues on a regular or chronic basis, finding relief from the pain can be a tough process.

At the offices of Jenna Baker LMT, we can help you find this relief. Our massage services include techniques specifically designed to relieve pain and stress in various areas of the body, including headache pains through therapeutic massage. Let’s look at some of the most common headache types we see, how massage therapy can benefit these, and the different techniques we might use if you’re looking for headache relief.

headache types massage therapy helps

Common Headache Types

There are a few different types of headaches out there, but the two most common from a broad standpoint are as follows:

  • Muscle tension headaches: Also called muscle contraction headaches, these are headaches caused by a tightening of the muscles in the upper part of the body – the head, face and neck primarily. This tightening will often be reflected in the way sufferers feel this pain – it will be a dull, constant throb on both sides that almost feels like something is gripping the head or temples tightly. Tension headaches may also come with aches in the neck or sensitivity of the scalp. They can come on slowly in many cases, and may last between hours or days.

  • Vascular headaches: Have you ever had a headache that felt more like a pounding or throbbing sensation in your head? That’s a vascular headache, which takes place when blood vessels to the brain and other head muscles swell up and construct, limiting the blood that gets to the brain. Vascular headaches can lead to heavy pain, vision issues, light sensitivity and nausea in some cases. People who have chronic migraines are suffering from a form of vascular headaches, which can last all the way up to 72 hours in some cases.

How Massage Can Help

Massage therapy services, luckily, can help ease the pain from both these headache types. They help with tension headaches by relieving muscle tension, helping lower spasms and generally relax the muscles around the head and neck.

In addition, this kind of relaxation leads to less pressure on nerves and blood vessels in these areas. This improves blood circulation and leads to a decrease in vascular headaches. On top of all this, massage therapy reduces or even eliminates anxiety that comes with chronic headaches, a condition that often worsens pain and other symptoms.

Types of Massage for Headaches

There are a few different types of massage that might benefit your headaches:

  • Cervical spine massage: Particularly for muscle tension headaches, massage that focuses on the neck, shoulder and back muscles can help.

  • Shiatsu massage: A Japanese form of massage that uses pressure from the fingers and palm on noted acupuncture points on the body.

  • Trager approach: Massage that stretches muscles and joints to increase relaxation.

  • Trigger point therapy (TrP): Pressure on specific points near the skull, neck and spine that blocks nerve signals that lead to headache pain. Over time, this therapy can alter muscles so they don’t create pain.

For more on how massage can help with headaches, or to learn about any of our massage therapy service, contact the offices of Jenna Baker LMT today.

Jenna Baker