Headache is one of the most common medical complaints. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or race. A headache is defined as pain in the head or face, and sometimes it also includes pain in the neck . The headache may occur in any part of the head, on one side of the head, or on both sides.
Headaches can be the result of stress or psychological frustration, and they can also be the result of a health problem such as high blood pressure , anxiety, or depression .
- Types of headache
- Massage to relieve headache
- Massage techniques to relieve headaches
- Use massage as prevention before headaches occur
- Benefits of using massage to relieve headaches
Types of headache
There are many types of headaches, but we will mention a brief summary of the most famous and most important types, and they are:
- Tension headache : It is the most common type of headache . This type usually starts slowly and increases gradually in the middle of the day. It occurs when muscle spasms in the head cause pain on both sides of the head and sometimes the neck . Tension headaches usually cause mild to moderate pain, sometimes referred to as a feeling of pressure around the head.
Tension headache has often been referred to as “muscle contraction headache” or “stress headache”. This headache can be either intermittent or chronic.
- Intermittent tension headache : It lasts for a few hours a day, but lasts for several weeks.
- Chronic tension headache : lasts for 15 days or more, for at least 3 months.
- Migraine headache (in English: Migraine Headache) : It usually occurs on one side of the head, and the pain is throbbing and usually accompanied by nausea , blurred vision, and slight tension, and the warning signs known as aura (in English: Aura) may occurbefore the headache pain Shortly after or coincides with its occurrence.
Migraines are less common than tension headaches, but they still affect a large number of people. It occurs when abnormal brain activity affects blood circulation and chemical composition in the brain , resulting in pain that is typically experienced on only one side of the head. Migraines can cause intense pain that lasts for hours or days.
- Cluster headache : Less common than tension and migraine headaches. This type often occurs on one side of the head, and is focused around one of the eyes , and the pain is severe, and it lasts between 15 minutes to 3 hours. It can happen once a day, and sometimes up to 8 times a day for weeks.
Cluster headaches are especially troublesome because they often cause the person who suffers them to wake up in the middle of the night, making it difficult to return to sleep until the pain subsides.
Massage to relieve headache
Massage therapy is a natural remedy that can help reduce headache recurrence and relieve symptoms. In a tension headache, massage therapy can help increase blood flow to the muscles of the head, thus relieving pain .
Massage therapy can be performed directly on the head and neck for certain types of headaches. Often times, the muscle tension that contributes to a headache is associated with the neck, shoulders, and upper back. People who have office jobs often complain of headaches, back and upper neck pain.
Treating all affected muscles will eliminate symptoms, restore balance to the body, reduce the potential for headaches in the future, and allow a person to maintain a level of relaxation and stress relief, which reduces the chances of stress headaches.
Massage techniques to relieve headaches
There are a variety of self-massage techniques that can help relieve headaches. We will mention one of the most popular massage techniques for headache relief, and they are as follows:
- Step 1: Use the thumb to press firmly on the bridge of the nose below the forehead. Apply firm pressure for 15 seconds while taking deep breaths, repeat this process 3-5 times.
- Step 2: Next, the thumb is used again to press firmly over the bridge of the nose towards the forehead. Apply firm pressure for 15 seconds while taking deep breaths, repeat this process 3-5 times.
- Step 3: After that, both hands are used to gently pinch the eyebrows for 15 seconds, repeat this process 3-5 times while breathing deeply.
- Step 4: Finally, fingers are used to press firmly on the temple in a circular motion for 15 seconds, repeat this process 3-5 times while breathing deeply.
Use massage as prevention before headaches occur
Repetitive massage therapy can stimulate the production of the body’s mood-regulating hormones, such as serotonin and dopamine . These “happy chemicals” that the mind releases will increase the sense of relief while at the same time relieving the pain. Maintaining a healthy hormonal balance helps control stress to stop stress-related headaches before they start in addition to improving sleep.
Activating healthy blood circulation and hormonal balance through massage therapy combined with a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of recurrent headache symptoms. It may be impossible to completely avoid headaches, but massage therapy can help prevent headaches and relieve headache symptoms without medication.
Massage treatments are performed regularly to help the body maintain an optimal level of relaxation and relieve stress. This approach greatly reduces the chances of migraine attacks and tension headaches by relaxing the muscles.
Benefits of using massage to relieve headaches
Massage therapy naturally reduces levels of the stress hormone ( cortisol ) while producing the natural mood hormones. Massage significantly improves headaches by relieving most of the symptoms.
A recent study showed that recipients of massage therapists experienced fewer headaches during the weeks they received the massage therapy, compared to participants who did not receive massage therapy.
Another study found that in adults with migraines, massage therapy reduced the incidence of headaches, sleep disturbances, and symptoms of distress. It also increased levels of serotonin, which is believed to play an important role in regulating mood, sleep and appetite.