Treatment at the Diamond Headache Clinic is designed to encourage well behavior by teaching patients to cope with pain in healthy, constructive ways. Among the non-drug or alternative therapies that complement our more traditional treatments is massage therapy, which has been shown to relieve pain for some migraine and tension headache sufferers.
Benefits of Massage Therapy for Headaches
Tension headaches, the most common type of headache, respond well to massage therapy provided by a professional massage therapist. Benefits may include reduced pain, intensity, duration and frequency of headache; decreased perception of pain; less tension; and decreased medication usage. Some types of massage, particularly head massage, have proven effective in temporarily easing migraine pain, and reducing the duration and frequency of migraine. Some evidence confirms that migraine sufferers who receive massage therapy experience fewer migraines and sleep better during the week of their massage.
How Does Massage Therapy for Headaches Work?
Massage may be helpful for the following reasons:
- Massage releases the chemical serotonin, which can relieve migraine pain.
- Massage may work by blocking pain signals.
- Massage promotes circulation; increasing blood flow in some areas can help relieve pain.
- Massage relieves muscle spasms and tension.
- Massage may help decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol, while increasing the amount of endorphins.
Be Aware of Possible Side Effects
Because rare side effects can occur, particularly when too much pressure is applied, you should seek the services of a professional therapist only. Patients with certain serious conditions should not get massages. Always consult your headache physician before undergoing massages for migraine treatment.