Headaches are one of the more common medical issues that people experience in their day-to-day lives. While they’re usually minor, some people find that they bring their entire day to a screeching halt. This is especially true for migraines, which result in a piercing headache and other symptoms like fatigue, nausea, and light sensitivity.
While there is no known cure for chronic migraines, studies suggest that regular massages may help chronic headache sufferers manage their symptoms. Here is how massage can help relieve headaches and migraines.
Releases Muscle Tension
One of the most common headaches is a dull, aching pain known as a tension headache. As the name suggests, tension—as evidenced in tensed muscles, clenched jaws, and eye strain— is usually the cause. Fortunately, massage can quickly relieve tension, making make it the perfect way to reduce pain. Massages focusing on the back, shoulders, neck, and head are the best for this type of pain.
Contributes To Relaxed State of Mind
Physical tension isn’t the only cause of tension headaches. Chronic stress and anxiety can take their toll on the mind and eventually the body, causing tension headaches. The physical relaxation of a massage also adds to mental relaxation as the body produces lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and higher levels of relaxing hormones like dopamine.
Doctors used to refer to migraines as vascular headaches because they believed that dilations in the blood vessels caused them. While we now know pain doesn’t originate in the blood vessels, doctors still recognize circulation as a contributing factor, so improving it can help relieve a headache. When massage releases tension in the muscles, it allows new blood in, improving circulation for pain relief.
Improves Sleep Schedule
A lack of sleep is a common headache or migraine trigger. But a throbbing headache may keep you from falling asleep at night, continuing the cycle. Massage can help this process along by putting the body into a state of relaxation and increasing dopamine production in the brain. Along with making you feel relaxed, dopamine also helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.
You don’t have to live at the mercy of your migraine days. Since massage can help relieve headaches and migraines, calling up a masseuse or slipping into one of our full-body massage chairs can alleviate your symptoms in the present and help reduce the number of migraine days in the future.