29 Sep 2011 Headaches and migraines
Many people looking for pain relief turn to massage therapy. Some of our clients come to us to tackle tension headaches. Trigger points can trigger each other, and muscle tension from the back propagates upwards to the shoulders and neck, then to the scalp. Your therapist might discuss with you whether you should work on posture (perhaps by having an Alexander Technique lesson) or might benefit from simple relaxation and/or meditation.
The series of short videos below talks you through a relaxation exercise and some therapeutic self-massage techniques, which you might find helpful. You might also want to check out advice from previous posts, such as Between treatments or Back to school, back to work. Akana’s Natural ‘Face Lift’ massage can be a nice alternative, as it not only works on the face, but also on shoulders, neck and scalp. For headaches propagating from deeper tension in the back, a full back treatment is advisable.
Migraines are slightly different from the usual headaches, often one-sided and accompanied by other symptoms, like nausea or sensitivity to light.
‘You don’t have to just suffer through a migraine headache. There are concrete steps that can help you avoid getting a migraine, or at least to lessen frequency and severity of your migraine,’ says a press release from the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine, in McLean, Virginia, where a team of physicians, physical therapists, and other health care providers combine conventional medicine with complementary practices to address chronic pain and illness.
Their advice is to:
- Pinpoint the triggers that cause migraines,
- Avoid the triggers as much as possible, and
- Explore prevention and treatment options. Complementary therapy examples given by the centre are: acupuncture, manual therapies or herbal remedies.
What works for each of us can be very individual. Considering how debilitating headaches and migraines can be, it is worth investigating and knowing how to prevent and treat them.
Talk to your medical practitioner if you have persistent headaches, especially if you are concerned or cannot pinpoint the cause.
In principle, you should not have massage or manual lymph drainage treatment during a migraine. However, if you have a tendency for migraines, you might want to have treatment between occurrences, observing whether they become less frequent.
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