According to the Mayo Clinic, a tension headache is defined as “a diffuse, mild to moderate pain in your head that’s often described as feeling a tight band around your head.” Treatments vary wildly from over-the-counter medications to simply finding a work/life balance that allows you to develop healthy habits. One of the best ways to address tension headaches is to make regular appointments with your massage therapist.
It’s important to understand that there are two types of tension headaches. Episodic tension headaches occur infrequently; for example, people report suffering from episodic tension headaches less than half the days in a month. However, chronic tension headaches occur more than half of days within a month. Clinically speaking, tension headaches are the result of muscle tightness in the neck, scalp and shoulder areas. This tension causes a lack of blood flow to the head, thus causing a headache.
Because tension headaches are often caused by muscle tightness, massage therapy is a wonderful drug-free treatment option. And there are several massage techniques that can help alleviate tension headache pain. For example, deep tissue massage is a great option as it uses firm, slow pressured strokes on those sore muscles to really get to the root cause of the pain triggering the headaches.
In addition to deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, and cranial sacral therapy are all techniques your massage therapist can use to help you deal with the pain associated with a tension headache. Combined with stress management strategies and getting regular exercise, massage is a great treatment option for those suffering from regular or infrequent tension headaches. If you suffer from tension headaches, ask your massage therapist which of these techniques might be a good fit for you. Massage therapy, combined with small lifestyle changes, could set you free from tension headaches for good!