At some point or another we’ve all been stopped in our tracks by an annoying or painful headache. There are lots of different types of headaches, ranging from those just adding a minor inconvenience to those causing debilitating pain. In today’s blog, we’re going to be talking about how massage can help with headaches and stop them from happening so frequently. 
Some of us experience headaches more often than others. In most cases, headaches are caused by an underlying issue such as eye strain, sleepless nights, stress, not drinking enough water, pain in the neck or shoulders, or migraine. 

What is a headache? 

A headache usually begins with symptoms in the head, face, or neck. This pain can range from mild, to a dull ache, moderate pain, or sharp persistent pain that can last anywhere from 20 minutes to days at a time. 
Headaches aren’t usually anything serious, but can be caused by pre-existing medical disorders, so it’s important to keep track of them if they start happening frequently. 
During a headache, the nerves, blood vessels and other soft tissues in the head will tighten, stimulating the nerves which send signals of pain to the brain. There are many different types of headaches and below are some of the most common. 

Tension headaches 

Tension headaches are the most common types of headaches and tend to require over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. These headaches are short-lived and feel like muscle contractions. If you’re experiencing tension headaches regularly, we suggest being evaluated by a professional who will look at your posture and muscles around the face, neck, and upper back to ensure that nothing obvious is causing your tension-related pain. 

Migraine headaches 

Migraines are a much more severe type of headache that can cause intense pain, sickness, and light and sound sensitives and completely stop you in your tracks. 
There are a few different types of migraines, but the most common ones are classic migraines, migraine without aura, and cluster migraines. 

Classic migraine 

A classic migraine tends to come with something called an ‘aura.’ These types of migraine are responsible for around a third of all migraines and are characterised by one-sided intense pain, blurred vision, flashing lights, dizziness, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. 

Migraine without aura 

Migraines without aura often take people by surprise, as auras can be one of the tell-tale symptoms that a migraine is on its way. Migraines without aura are like classic migraines but can also cause the eyes and nose to run and vomiting to occur. These types of migraine tend to last longer than classic migraine attacks. 

Cluster migraine 

Both tension headaches and migraines can be effectively managed by regular massage therapy. Massage therapy focusing on the head, neck, and shoulders can be very relaxing and reduce stress. Massage therapy can also help to increase blood flow, loosen tight muscles, and balance out your hormones by reducing your cortisol levels. 
If you suffer with headaches frequently you may find yourself reaching for over-the-counter painkillers regularly. Massage therapy is a drug free non-evasive approach to managing pain. 
If somebody you know is suffering from headaches, and you’d like to learn how to give effective massage, feel free to contact us about our introduction to massage or deep tissue training courses
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