Sometimes I think massage therapy was invented specifically to treat tension headaches. These types of headaches are typically caused by muscular stress in the neck and shoulders.
What is a Tension Headache?
The muscles that are primarily responsible for supporting the head form two small triangles that attach to the base of the skull. These muscles keep the head steady by holding tension. They allow movement by contracting and relaxing. The average human head weighs between 18 and 20 pounds.
It’s not hard to understand that anything that upsets the balance of these muscles can result in near constant pain in the head.
Often, misalignment of the spine or sacrum can cause a ripple effect throughout the body. It is not uncommon for problems in the feet or knees to be the underlying cause of tension headaches.
Tension Headache Triggers
Absolutely anything can trigger a tension headache. There is an almost infinite number of physical, emotional, and mental causes.
Some of the major triggers include:
- Simple muscle tension in base of the skull or jaw.
- These muscles are especially vulnerable to emotional stress. Anger or worry tends to cause people to clench their jaw and tighten their necks.
- Injuries to the head or neck
- Repetitive motion, such as tremors from Parkinson’s Disease.
- Physical stress during exercise, especially swimming.
- Ergonomic injury from poor posture or workstation design.
- Subluxation of cervical vertebrae.
- Misalignment of the bones in the neck can irritate surrounding tissues and nerves. Chiropractic care can resolve this.
- Trigger points in the neck and head.
- Ongoing mental stress.
- Insomnia or lack of adequate sleep.
Massage Treatment for Tension Headaches
Experienced, focused bodywork on the muscles of the head, neck, and shoulders is the best treatment for a tension headache, regardless of the underlying cause.
Experienced massage therapists can assess your posture and body mechanics. We can also feel hidden sources of tension in your muscles that can often provide long-lasting relief when treated.
Since massage is a proven stress-reducer, regular appointments can improve sleep and resolve the most common causes of tension headaches.
I am often available for emergency mobile massage appointments. Treating a tension headache when it begins can shorten the duration. The best way to contact me for an emergency session is by texting my phone at (323) 283-9348.