Massage For Headache Relief

Every day millions of people suffer from headaches. Headache pain can be due to stress, muscle or eye strain, hunger, lack of sleep or a variety of other causes.

Tension headaches or tension-type headaches are the most common form of primary headaches. A primary headache is a headache which is not caused by another medical condition or ailment. Tension-type headaches can be categorized as episodic (fewer than 15 days a month) or chronic (more than 15 days a month for a period of over 6 months). Normally a tension headache will last 4-6 hours, but the duration can last from minutes to days and even for years in some rare chronic cases. The pain from a tension headache can be described as a constant pain or pressure, alternately as a throbbing pain, located in the front, top or sides of the head.

For many headache sufferers, pain medication, or drugs, are a common way for dealing with tension-type pain. However, there are many drawbacks to taking over-the-counter or prescription painkillers for tension headaches, especially for those who suffer from chronic pain, or have liver or stomach problems. Many may prefer to simply avoid taking drugs to combat pain when possible and utilize natural, drug-free treatments to find relief. For those with serious or chronic pain issues, it is always important to consult your doctor before beginning any kind of treatment.

A common cause of tension headaches is believed to be tight muscles in the back of the neck, shoulders, at the base of the skull and on the scalp. When these muscles tighten, they contract and pull, often resulting in pressure and the sensation of pain. Massage therapy has been shown to be a very beneficial remedy for these kinds of conditions, which are associated with stress and tension.

Treating tension headaches with therapeutic massage:

Therapeutic massage is an effective method in the treatment of tension-type headaches and other stress and muscle tension related ailments. Massage techniques, as applied by professionally trained, qualified massage therapists, have been specifically developed to treat pain by treating the source of that pain: the muscles and tissues of the back of the neck, shoulders, at the base of the skull and on the scalp. Warming, softening and relaxing these muscles, tendons and connective tissues, through therapeutic massage, eases the pressure which can cause tension headaches and is a powerful technique for relieving pain associated with this ailment. Full body massage treatments also aids in relaxing muscle tension throughout the body and alleviating pain. Even a tense calf muscle can cause a person to react by tensing his or her shoulders and neck against the pain, which can then lead to a tension-type headache. This is especially true of the muscles of both the lower and upper back, as they support much of the body's weight and directly connect to the muscle groups associated with tension-type headaches. In these ways, massage therapy trips tension headaches by addressing the specific muscles that cause this type of pain, but also through a holistic approach, promoting full body relaxation and general muscle and body health.

Massage is also a great way to relieve and manage stress, which is a common cause of tension-type headaches. Treating a tension headache with massage is not only healthy in that it avoids the use of drugs and their potential adverse side effects, but massage therapy is good for overall body health, blood and lymphatic circulation, muscle tone and general well-being. It is also recommended as a preventive medical technique for avoiding tension headaches. If the body's muscles are maintained in a relaxed, healthy state through regular massage treatments, then tension headaches are generally less likely to occur. On top of all, massage can be a wonderfully pleasurable and relaxing experience and is recommended for both physical and psychological wellness by many doctors, nurses and other health professionals.

Self Massage Techniques for Tension Headaches

There is nothing worse than trying to get through your work
day with pain at the base of the skull, shooting up the back
of your head and maybe even behind your eye. This is a text
book referral pattern for an upper trapezius trigger point,
and is the most common type of headache I treat every day.

So let's discuss how you deal with this and get on with your
day! The first thing you should do, if at all possible, it
to take a quick break from whatever it is you are doing.
Take a couple of deep breaths, and mobilize your head and
neck (turn your head side to side, ear to shoulder, and
front and back.) Repeat this a few times, and always stay
in pain free range – ie – if it hurts, make your movements
smaller, or stop.

Next, you need to massage the area – in the case of an upper
trapezius trigger point, you want to kneed the bulk of
muscle between the neck and shoulder – you might even feel
the head intensifies briefly while you work this area,
that's OK – it means you are on the right spot! You want to
apply just enough pressure to feel slight discomfort (it
kind of hurts and feels good all at the same time), but not
so much that you are cringing in pain. You can pinch the
muscle between your thumb and fingers and roll it, or use
flat fingers and apply direct pressure, or a rubbing motion.

Follow the muscle from the shoulder area all the way up the
back of the neck to the base of the skull. You want to work
between the spinous processes at the very back of the neck
(you can feel the bumps they make) and the transverse
processes at the sides (in line with the ears). Be sure not
to apply direct pressure over these areas, but work in
between them.

Because the upper trapezius attaches to the base of the
skull, it is important to work this area as well. You can
use your fingers along the ridge, working back and forth and
up and down in small "frictioning" movements, or you can
also use an eraser to help if your fingers get tired.
Again, be sure to use moderate pressure.

After massaging the area, it is important to stretch the
muscle out. If you want to stretch the right upper
trapezius muscle, you need to sit nice and tall, looking
straight ahead, and bend your neck to the left, dropping
your left ear to left shoulder. You should feel a gentle
pulling sensation along the right side of your neck and
shoulder. Hold here, taking a couple of deep breaths. If
you do not feel anything, you can use your left hand on your
head to gently guide the stretch further.

Heat can also be applied to the muscles, either before you
start your self-massage, or in lieu of massage, and in
conjunction with the stretch just described.

This should be enough to alleviate the average tension
header. If your symptoms do not improve, it might be time
to seek some professional help!

I hope this helps you with your tension headaches!

© 2007 Denise Mackinnon RMT

Remedial Massage Can Help Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition characterized by the fact that the patient sufferers from a state of permanent fatigue that may or may not be accompanied by other various symptoms. Patients who are suffering from this condition can easily treat some of their symptoms and even improve their energy level with the help of what is called remedial massage.

Some of the symptoms that may accompany chronic fatigue syndrome are: headaches, joint pain, unrefreshing sleep, sensitivity to light, cognitive difficulties such as problems concentrating or memory problems, or muscle pain; there are also other more severe symptoms that may take a toll on a person's life, such as mental or physical exhaustion and even depression due to the permanent low mood and low energy.

As we mentioned earlier, symptoms such as depression or low energy may be improved with the help of remedial massage therapy, due to the fact that it helps the body release endorphins which will improve a person's mood. Joint and muscle pain can also be easily treated by a few sessions of this particular type of massage and be preceded by regular sessions.

Another important aspect that may help patients who are coping with this condition is stress relief, since stress can be a major disturbance; Fortunately, stress can be easily alleviated in just one session of this therapy.

A study in 1999 showed that after 10 days of remedial massage therapy, a group of patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome experienced a decrease in the somatic symptoms that they had and less difficulty sleeping. Specialists discovered that the patients cortisol levels decreased and their dopamine levels increased.

This shows that massage of this type can be truly efficient in this condition and similar conditions, and the great aspect of this therapy is the fact that it is a natural type of therapy and everyone can use it without a risk; it is often applied on its own, but you can easily use massage along with your standard medication to make sure that you get an efficient treatment.

Remedial massage can also be combined with other types of natural therapies such as yoga and even acupuncture for better results. Muscle relaxation techniques and regular physical exercise proved to be extremely efficient for those suffering from chronic fatigue symptom when combined with remedial massage.

However, before consulting your massage therapist you have to make sure that the symptoms you are experiencing are indeed caused by chronic fatigue syndrome and not due to other underlying diseases.

Massage for Migraines and Headaches

I recently read an article about how the medical community has been doing studies on the effects of electrical stimulation to the occipital nerve for the relief of migraines. They made it sound as if this was a brand new finding. Maybe for them it was. They are looking into using a small electrical impulse delivering device that is surgically implanted near the occipital nerve in order to help relieve migraines in patients that have tried other types of therapy without getting relief. They are finding that when the occipital nerve is interrupted by electrical impulse it can help to relieve the pain of migraines. This sounds great, but I wonder why they did not mention the effects of massage or electrical acupuncture in the same area of the body without the use of invasive surgery?

Massage therapists and acupuncturists have known for years that working the occipital region can help to relieve migraines and headaches. I have been doing this for people ever since I learned how back during massage school. About 80% of the time my clients have reported relief from migraines by my use of massage or electrical acupuncture in the occipital region. It is much less invasive and I would assume it is also much safer than implanting an electrical stimulating device near the nerve. I also wonder why they did not include information about the use of electrical acupuncture. I have a device in my store that is available to the public and professionals that delivers electrical stimulation to relieve trigger points. It is called the Super Pen and it can be used almost anywhere on the body and for more than just the relief of migraines. Wouldn’t this device be very similar to the one they want to surgically implant? Wouldn’t this be much safer and portable because it can be carried in your pocket or purse and used when needed? It also delivers the impulses without needles or any kind of penetration besides the electrical impulse being carried to the area of concern. These pens often feature a trigger point locator that is built into the device. Our super pen that we have will light up a green light when it is over a trigger point telling you where to deliver the impulses for maximum effect. It is adjustable and almost painless. Some people don’t feel it at all while others can feel a pinching sensation.

As many of you already know I share an office with Dr. Gary Sherman. Dr. Sherman and I had a video made of how to use trigger point therapy techniques for migraine and headache relief. Although he is a chiropractor he has also instructed therapists and chiropractors on the use of trigger point therapy. We both use these techniques in our office with great success. He goes beyond just working the occipital region and shows areas all over the head, neck and shoulders that can be part of the cause of migraine pain. I highly recommend the use of these techniques before trying something as invasive as having an electrical impulse device implanted near your occipital nerve.

I appreciate the medical community and have great respect for them. I just wish they would give more credit to the alternative health community by at least mentioning the therapies we offer and referring to us more often than they do. I know when I have a client with migraines and my therapy does not seem help them as much as anticipated, I do refer them to a medical doctor. Many of them have already tried many different medical drugs, therapies and procedures before they decided to try alternative health methods and are reluctant to go back to the medical community for help. This new procedure with the surgically implanted device should be available very soon. From what I read about it, it is going to be recommended for patients that have not experienced relief from any other types of treatment. For these people it has been proven to be very effective.

This article is based on the professional opinion of the author and is intended for educational purposes only. The author does not diagnose or treat disease. The clients that the author has worked with for these conditions have provided their diagnoses of migraines or headaches on an intake form for massage. The author also exercises care to be sure that his clients of massage do not have any contraindications for treatment.

Do You Need Massage Therapy Service in Toronto?

Massage Therapy is known to relax muscles. In the past, massage is believed to improve the health of a person. Now, people have realized the health benefits and owing to this there are many wellness and health centers performing programs of massage therapy by qualified and trained massage therapists.

Massage therapy helps blood circulation and therapists apply right pressure at specific parts. Initially, it may be uncomfortable, but by the completion of the session, you can experience relaxation.

Massage Mississauga is renowned for body therapy. This is a holistic massage treatment customized for personal needs and it addresses unique concern of your body. However this massage is given after understanding your diet, medical concerns and lifestyle habits, besides family medical history.

There are physical and tension benefits with this massage. This massage loosens muscles and offer relief from pains and various aches. Massage also improves blood circulation and delivers nutrients to the body cells, besides eliminating waste. This makes the health better.

Massage Mississauga is known to offer benefits to mind. It melts away the tension and pain caused due to stress. You can sleep and your mind will be at ease, enabling you to be alert and focused.

Massage Toronto offers relief from chronic pain and offer solitary moments of relaxation. There are varieties of massages included:
• Swedish
• Thai
• Myofascial Release
• Acupuncture
• Sports

Massage therapy sessions is done in safe, comfortable environment at places conveniently located in Toronto. These places are usually well facilitated with bus access, subway access, street parking and Green parking.

This therapy is available until 8pm and you have to contact them to get this on Sundays and public holidays. They also offer massage in the comfort and safety of your home or hotel. You can browse for healthy tips and watch exercises, videos and stretches, before contacting them.

The specialties of massage Toronto and Mississauga include:
• Shoulder pain
• Severe neck pain
• Hip pain, low back pain or joint pain
• Headache
• Frozen shoulder and Rotator cuff injuries
• Shooting pain down your leg and hip
• Jaw pain
• Hip pain, knee pain
• Numbness in feet or hands
• Surgical scars
• Tennis elbow
• Carpal tunnel syndrome

Massage Therapy services:

• Sports Massage
• Relaxation of stress
• Sports massage
• Combination of acupuncture and massage sessions
• Facial rejuvenation
• Calming and soothing