- Kevin Joubert, R.Ac
Massage for Tension Headaches
Updated: Aug 26, 2022
It's estimated that 63% of men and 86% of women experience tension headaches (Silberstein et al., 1998) - these pesky headaches with muscular origins, trigger point and myofascial dysfunction. Typically bilateral with pain that is diffuse and constant, tension headaches can last from 30 minutes to weeks on end. Onset is usually later in the afternoon when these latent trigger points have been activated. Some muscles of the upper back, neck and scalp may be tender and stiff, with hypertonicity. Tension headaches can be induced by stress, fatigue, cold, low blood sugar, poor posture and lack of movement.
Massage is indicated as a treatment for these headaches. Treatment may include cold compresses followed by a variety of techniques applied at the upper back, neck, scalp and face. Some of the most effective muscles to address are in the scalp area, including the occiput, temporal and top of head. Releasing these muscles can have a big impact on tension headache presentation. Slow, deeper breathing is encouraged during treatment to engage the parasympathetic nervous system.
Couple this treatment with TCM acupuncture and facial cupping - you will get a powerful treatment to eliminate headaches.
Self care includes self massage, rest, diaphragmatic breathing, pain free stretches & correct posture while working or during daily activities.