When you need a massage for a headache, what are your options? And, is self-massage for a headache even possible? Let’s examine some of the different causes of headaches, as well as the benefits of massage for blood circulation and general relief.
Types of Headaches
This is a very common type of headache, typically of mild to moderate intensity. The symptoms can be a dull, aching pain on both sides of the head. Some say it feels like a tight band around their head. Episodic tension-type headaches occur less than 15 times per month. However, if tension headaches occur 15 times or more each month, they are considered chronic. The causes of tension headaches aren’t completely understood, but some factors can be muscle tension, poor posture, bone misalignment and eye strain. One of the methods recommended by the Australian government website healthdirect.gov.au to ease tension headaches is “massaging the head, neck and shoulders”.
Vascular headaches are more severe - and longer lasting - than tension headaches. Originally thought to be caused by swelling or constriction of blood vessels, recent medical thinking now links these headaches to nerve-related problems. There are four main types within this category:
- Classic migraine - This migraine is preceded by an “aura”, such as blurred vision or a perception of coloured spots or flashing lights.
- Aura-less migraine - This has the same symptoms as the classic migraine but without any aura.
- Cluster headache - These occur in clusters or groups over a period of time and can strike quickly, with little or no warning. It can begin as an excruciating pain, usually around one eye, which can then spread to other parts of the head and neck.
- Sinus headache - This headache pain occurs due to swelling of the sinuses (air-filled spaces in your skull), which causes a pressure build-up.
This is a rare type of headache. It could be due to a viral or bacterial infection, and it might also be a sign of a more serious illness, such as a stroke or tumour.
Can Massage Help With Headaches?
While researchers are still trying to understand the causes of headaches, most people with headaches don’t really care about this. They just want some relief! Fortunately, massage for a tension headache canrelieve the tight, tender muscles in the back of your head, neck and shoulders. And this is why healthdirect.gov.au specifically recommends “massaging the head, neck and shoulders” for easing a tension headache.
Common Massage Techniques to Help with Headaches
If you’re wondering, “what is the best massage for a headache?”, there is no single answer, and it can depend on whether you have access to a masseur or a high-quality massage chair. Factually, there are four common types of massage that can benefit headaches - depending on which areas are being targeted.
Deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massage is applied with slow, gliding strokes into the deeper muscle layers. It can be administered over the full body or to specific areas such as the head. When applied to the neck, back and shoulders, this massage reduces tension in muscles and tissue. Not only can this ease tension headaches, but it can also assist with healing by increasing blood circulation. Deep tissue massage for a headache can be applied by a massage therapist or an exceptional massage chair - which typically includes automatic programs to deliver this type of massage.
Trigger point massage
The idea behind trigger point massage is to directly target the small, tight area (trigger point) in sore or tight muscles by using sustained pressure, such as rubbing or pressing. While the trigger point itself is often tender to the touch, it can also cause pain to be felt in a completely different part of the body. That’s why releasing stiff muscles (trigger points) in the neck and shoulder region can often help alleviate headaches.
Neuromuscular massage uses a combination of trigger point and deep tissue massage. This technique applies alternating pressure levels to the trigger point, typically using the knuckles, elbow or fingers. When used to alleviate headaches, any trigger points around the neck, shoulders and back are usually addressed first. It targets stiff muscles and specific muscle groups to release pain and tension.
Each of your eyes has six muscles which do a lot of work throughout the day. They have to constantly track objects up, down, right, left and diagonally. This causes a lot of strain on your eyes. You need to give them a break! An eye massager is a high-tech device which produces a combination of compression, vibration and heat therapy to relax your eyes and reduce that tension which can lead to headaches. The Masseuse Eye Massager matches the curves of your face for a comfortable fit and provides maximum relaxation for your eyes after a busy day!
Can a Massage Chair Relieve Headache Pain?
Let’s face it. Having a massage chair that is programmed to deliver deep tissue massage when you get home from a stressful day’s work is an ideal way to release tension! No need to make an appointment or drive out to a masseur after you finish work. Just relax and rest in your chair while it goes to work! Remember, any tension relief can help ease headaches, especially when it targets the specific muscle tension that can lead to headaches.
Self-Massage for Sinus Headaches
Self-massage for a headache can help you relax and release tension. In the case of a sinus headache, you need to relieve some of the pressure buildup caused by congested sinuses.
- To self-massage your frontal sinuses, place your index and middle fingers (of both hands) just above the eyebrows, near the centre of the forehead. Gently rub using a circular motion and continue to massage outwards, towards the temples. Return to the centre of the forehead and repeat. This should take about a minute in total.
- To self-massage your maxillary sinuses (which are below the cheeks, but above the teeth), place your index and middle fingers (of both hands) on either side of your nose. Ensure they are just below the cheekbones, but above the upper jaw. Give the area a gentle massage using a circular motion. Do this for about 30 seconds.
Self Massage for Migraines
Migraines are the pits! Here’s a really simple self-massage for this type of headache, which focuses on your temples - the soft part on the side of your head between the forehead and the ear:
Put three fingers of each hand - index, middle and ring - on your temples. Gently apply pressure and rub in small circles for about 30 seconds.
Self Massage for Allergy Headaches
It’s bad enough getting allergies. Especially during a lovely spring day! And, when they turn into headaches, it’s no laughing matter. Here’s a self-massage technique that might help relieve the congestion behind an allergy headache:
On the back of your neck, there are hollow areas on both sides, just below the base of your skull. Place your fingers (index and middle) into these hollows and - with very gentle pressure - push upwards into the base of the skull for about 30 seconds.
Invest in your Health Today with Masseuse Massage Chairs
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