Massage for Headaches, Migraines, and Neck related issues.
Is it a migraine or a headache?
Many people in San Diego are needlessly suffering from headaches, migraines, and general stiffness of the neck and shoulders. Often clients who come in with a complaint of suffering from migraines are actually suffering from either a tension headache, or a migraine which they would not get if their neck, shoulders and posture were in a more relaxed state . The primary differences between a migraine and a tension headache are root causes and each needs to be addressed accordingly to get optimal results. It is important to address both the muscular and skeletal systems whenever chronic migraines or headaches are present to improve the quality of your life. While the tension headaches receive direct relief from massage, migraine sufferers can also derive tremendous benefit from the same work as taking pressure off the musculature can also reduce the pressure on the vascular system that is the primary source of pain in chemical induced migraines. While this may not completely eliminate migraines it does often reduce the frequency and severity!
What does a Migraine Feel like?
-One side of your head hurts
-Hurts to move
-Sensitive to light or sound
-Last 4 or more hours
-Can’t be slept through
-Often sudden onset
What does a Tension Headache Feel like?
-Whole head hurts
-No throbbing sensation (if left untreated long enough a throbbing sensation my begin to form)
-Pain in neck or shoulders
-No sensitivity to light
-Pressure in the head
Why do we get headaches and migraines?
Muscles in the neck shoulders and head tense up due to any of the following: poor posture, muscular imbalances, overuse, or simply too much stress. Migraines can also be triggered by exposure to certain chemicals, foods, and environmental factors, especially if the body is already tense. There is also a very minor possibility that a headache or migraine can be caused by a more severe medical condition so be aware that if there are also other symptoms you should consult a physician to be on the safe side.
How does massage help recover from headaches and migraines?
The first step in successfully relieving stress induced headaches is to identify the root cause within the body. The most common culprits are muscles located at the base of the skull, neck, chest and shoulders. The imbalance in these muscles causes strain and over time develop hyper sensitive areas called “trigger points”. These “trigger points” radiate pain to other areas of the body, in this case inside your head often behind the eyes and at the back or base of the skull.
Visually a person will often also be suffering from a head forward posture noticeable by the chin jutting forward or the ears being in front of the shoulders rather than directly over them. This head forward position takes the weight of the head off the spine and places it on the muscles of the back and neck adding about 10-12 pounds constantly being held up all day every day by these relatively small muscles.
To correct the headaches and head forward posture massage is used to loosen the muscles and fascia (connective tissue) of the chest, shoulders, neck and skull allowing better posture and alleviating the chronic stress and tension caused by the head being to far forward. Special attention to the Scalenes and SCM muscles help the head forward posture return to normal, while work on the Pectoralis Major, pectoralis Minor, and biceps muscles allows the shoulders to roll back and down giving your head a proper place to rest! With the muscles pulling you forward loosened you now need to strengthen the muscles of the back to hold your posture in the correct position
How to prevent / recover from stress headaches and migraines?
ure by balancing muscles (Stretching, exercises, massage)
-Change bad habits (no more slouching, sleeping in ways that do not compromise your neck, using a firm mattress and sleeping on your back with no or a very small pillow seems to be best)
-Stretch neck, shoulder, and chest muscles everyday
-Avoid environmental triggers (Certain foods and chemicals)
-Fix work or study area to be posture friendly