How Does Massage Therapy Help Tension Headaches?


A Cleveland Clinic report shows that around 3 to 5 percent of people in the United States suffer from chronic headaches(including headache episodes that can persist over 15 days each month).

Furthermore, research also shows women are at a higher risk of suffering from tension headaches than men.

Fortunately, treatments like massage therapy have been effective in helping people who experience tension headaches and migraines. 

A nice massage will not only relieve you of your migraine pains but will also prevent their occurrence.

So, how massage therapy helps tension headaches?

Keep reading and you will find all relevant facts you should know about massage therapy for tension headaches.

Is Massage Good For Tension Headaches

Yes, massage is good for tension headaches and migraines, and it helps relieve you of the pains.

Below are some benefits of massaging patients with headaches/migraines:

  • Massage therapy helps to lower muscle spasms and trigger points
  • Massage enables patients with headaches to maintain a stress relief and relaxation level. 
  • Massage therapy lowers the chances of stress-induced migraines
  • Massage therapy reduces tension headaches occurrences, distress symptoms, and sleep disturbances 

Note that you should ensure your muscles are healthy and also strive to avoid mental and physical stress. 

This helps lower your ache intensity and frequency, thereby proving that massage therapy is an excellent form of headache treatment.

Also Read:What Are The 5 Basic Massage Movements? (Explained)

How Does Massage For Headache Work?

A massage is a beneficial form of therapy for tension headaches and migraines. This type of therapy loosens tension in your head, neck, and shoulders.

Furthermore, massage eliminates trigger points and stretches out shortened and tight muscles. As a result, your body will experience increased blood circulation and a boost in the supply of nutrients and oxygen. 

One thing you should know is that an improved blood flow quickens waste products and built-up toxins removal from your body. 

Hence, it’s essential to know for you to get the best out of headaches massage, you should apply it regularly. That way, your massage therapy becomes better effective in the prevention of headaches and migraines.

Nevertheless, do you know headache massage quickens the healing process of a specific neck or shoulder injury ( like whiplash and muscle strains)? 

Also, it helps to break down scar tissue which is a common cause of headaches even after injury recovery. Additionally, massage therapy improves postural defects (like head forward and rounded shoulders) and prevents them from worsening.

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Tips For Preventing Headache After Massage

Do you know that some people complain of experiencing headaches after a massage?

Hence it would help if you stuck to the tips below to help prevent you from suffering headaches or migraines:

  • Ensure to allow your massage therapist to know about your doubts and concerns
  • Let your massage therapist know the level of pressure that’s most appropriate for your needs.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak your mind during a session. For instance, give feedback when you think the pressure is suitable and when it’s not.
  • If you know it’s not for you; then you should avoid deep tissue massages.
  • Ensure you seek your therapist’s advice and post-massage stretches recommendation
  • Ensure you don’t get a full-body massage. Instead, book a head, hand, or foot massage.
  • Ensure you drink about eight ounces of water pre and post-massage session
  • Also, increase your intake of water for the next two days after your massage.
  • You must avoid the intake of alcohol the night before and on the night of your massage.
  • Lastly, once you finish with your massage session, take a light snack and have a cool or warm shower.

Also Read:Does Massage Help With Fibromyalgia? (Incl. 7 Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore)

How To Perform A Head Massage For Tension Headaches Sufferers

The paragraphs below describe the process of performing a head massage for tension headaches:

#1. Move Slowly

Allow your patients to sit down or lie down. Then start by stroking your client or patient’s head slowly and gently. More importantly, slow movements feel much better than faster ones. 

Additionally, slow strokes will relax a person with tension headaches better than quick strokes.

#2.Work In Small Circles.

Make use of your fingertips to apply circular motions across the client’s head. Go from back to front and vice-versa. You can repeat this process often.

#3. With One Hand, Cup The Person’s Neck. 

Rub your client’s neck gently with your thumb on one side and your other finger on the other side. Ensure you move up and down their neck. 

As you massage them, move the skin instead of rubbing the skin top. You should also use this procedure at the head base where the hair begins. 

#4. Use The Heels Of Your Palms To Massage The Head 

Run your hands under your client’s hair close to his temples. Ensure the heels of your palms end above the temples. Exert gentle pressure and push upward for some seconds. 

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This technique can be used on the entire head. Besides, you can use this method on yourself, and it will be as effective as when you use it on another person.

Other Relevant About Tension Headaches

Below are some basic fact about headaches everyone should know:

#1. What Is A Tension Headache?

This is a typical headache that causes mild, moderate, or intense pain in your head, neck, and behind your eyes. A Tension headache is more likely to occur during your middle age and can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 7 days.

However, symptoms can manifest during childhood. When you experience a headache for 15 or more days in a month over a 3-month duration, it’s most likely a chronic tension headache. 

These types of headaches can lead to anxiety and depression. And this, in turn, causes more headaches. Also, we have two main categories of tension headaches— episodic and chronic.

  • Episodic Tension Headaches

Headaches that can last from 30 minutes to 7 days are Episodic Tension Headaches. Frequent episodic tension headaches happen less than 15 days per month over 90 days. It’s also easy for frequent episodic tension headaches to turn chronic especially, when untreated.

  • Chronic Tension Headaches

Chronic tension headache does not only lasts hours, but it also continues. So when headaches happen for 15 or more days each month for at least 90 days, then it’s most likely a chronic one.

#2. Causes Of Tension Headaches

Contractions of muscles in your head and neck areas are the leading cause of tension headaches. Moreover, Foods, activities, and stressors are known to trigger these types of contractions.

Furthermore, some people experience tension headaches after driving for an extended period or staring at a computer screen for hours.

Below are other things that can trigger a tension headache:

  • cold temperatures
  • skipping meals
  • smoking
  • a cold or flu
  • poor posture
  • emotional stress
  • eye strain
  • dry eyes
  • alcohol
  • a sinus infection
  • caffeine
  • fatigue
  • lack of sleep
  • alcohol

#3. Symptoms Of Tension Headache

Below are symptoms of a tension headache that shouldn’t be ignored:

  • Tenderness on your neck, scalp, and shoulder muscles
  • The feeling of tightness or pressure across your forehead or on the back and sides of your head
  • Dull, aching head pain
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#4 When To See A Doctor?

There are times when this condition goes beyond getting massage therapy, and seeing a qualified doctor is your best bet. So how do you know when to make an appointment with your doctor?

  • Consult your doctor if this type of headache or migraine disrupts your life. 
  • Also, see a doctor when you need to take medication more than twice per week. 
  • See your doctor when you observe your headaches suddenly feel different or the pattern changes.

Sometimes, tension headaches may be a sign or symptom of an underlying ailment like a brain tumor. And this could even make you seek emergency help.

Here signs or symptoms that should make you seek emergency care:

  • You experience a headache or migraine after a head injury, especially if the headache persists.
  • Abrupt, severe headache accompanied by numbness or speaking difficulties.
  • Headache with a fever, mental confusion, seizures, stiff neck, double vision, and weakness

Final Words

Research proves that massage therapy lowers the frequency of tension headaches and migraines. Besides, a recent study shows that about 30 minutes of massage leads to considerable physical and psychological improvements.

Therefore, I recommend getting a nice massage because it helps with headaches or migraines and also reduces their frequency.

That’s why I also encourage tension headaches sufferers to seek the services of a qualified massage therapist.

However, I understand booking a massage session is expensive. Besides, you may not want to spend your hard-earned cash on it.

Hence I recommend you use a massager like the percussion massage gun. This percussive device is as effective as getting a massage from a therapist. 

We suggest using the Opove M3 Pro massager for your tension headaches or migraines with flexible options available. 

Moreover, it’s simple to use and more affordable than booking a massage session.

Read this review to check all you need to know about this product.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website results from in-depth research on various topics. The articles on this site are only for informational and educational purposes, and it’s not intended as medical or health advice. Hence, we suggest you always ensure to seek the opinion of your doctor or other qualified health personnel regarding any questions that relate to health objectives or medical conditions.

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