Migraine Sufferers: How Massage Therapy Can Help
Anyone who has ever suffered from a migraine headache would readily agree that this is far more than just a simple “headache.” Migraines are best known for causing moderate to severe and intense pain and throbbing in the head, and they usually come with some amount of nausea and light sensitivity. They are often preceded by flashes of light, blind spots or even tingling in the arm or leg.
Needless to say, migraine headaches can completely interrupt your ability to function well on a day-to-day basis. Though the precise reason behind why individuals suffer from migraines isn’t known, there are many things that may contribute to them, including:
- Hormonal changes. Women who experience migraine headaches sometimes find that they are related to the changes in estrogen levels that occur before or during menstruation, during pregnancy or during menopause.
- Certain foods and food additives. Some foods, like aged cheeses, processed foods, salty foods, and some food additives, like aspartame and monosodium glutamate, may possibly trigger a migraine headache.
- Alcoholic and highly caffeinated drinks. Migraine headaches can definitely be triggered by the use of alcoholic or highly caffeinated drinks.
- Stress. Those who regularly suffer from migraine headaches often admit that they lead very stressful lives.
- Intense sensory stimuli. Individuals who are highly sensitive to sensory stimuli can find that bright lights, loud sounds, and strong smells can all contribute to migraines.
- Extreme physical exertion. Migraine headaches are sometimes triggered by extreme physical exertion.
- Changes in sleeping patterns. When individuals suddenly change their sleeping patterns–as can occur when they are traveling and experience jet lag–they may experience migraines.
- Environmental changes. Extreme changes in weather and barometric pressure may lead to migraines in some individuals.
- Medications. There are some medications that can cause or contribute to migraine headaches.
Finding a way, anyway, to relieve the pain and discomfort caused by these headaches can understandably be very welcome, but even the approved use of migraine-reducing medications may only serve to provide one with temporary relief. Fortunately, you can use massage for migraine relief and get even better, longer-lasting results than through the use of medication alone.
Massage Therapy for Migraines
While there can certainly be a host of other contributing factors, migraine headaches are often largely caused by muscle tension. It is for this reason that migraine massage treatment can be so wonderfully effective–the pressing, stroking, kneading, and rubbing of a professional massage therapist can reduce muscle tension and allow the individual to experience deep and lasting relief. Massage therapy can also improve circulation and the body’s natural detoxification process, which may assist in resolving some of the root causes for the individual’s migraine headaches so that they don’t persist. Immediately after receiving massage therapy, a migraine sufferer may experience:
- Reduced headache pain
- Reduced headache intensity
- Reduced duration and frequency of headaches
- Reduced perception of headache pain
- Reduced tension
- Reduced need for medication to relieve headaches and headache pain
- Better, deeper, more relaxing, and more rejuvenating sleep
Many individuals who are suffering from migraine headaches actually prefer massage therapy over traditional medication because they not only relieve the pain and tension related to these headaches, they assist the entire body in relaxing and repairing so as to protect against future migraine headaches. Regular massage therapy can:
- Cause the release of the natural chemical serotonin, which works wonders to relieve migraine headache pain.
- Block the body’s pain signals naturally.
- Promote better circulation, which can relieve pain in areas that are suffering from reduced blood flow.
- Relieve muscle spasms and tension that can contribute to painful headaches.
- Decrease cortisol levels and increase endorphins, which causes a reduction of stress and an increase in the feeling of happiness.
Seeking Professional Help
In order to reap the best possible benefits from massage therapy, it is important to seek professional help from licensed and experienced massage therapists. This is because achieving the best results depends on the correct application of pressure to the correct points in the body. When too much pressure is applied it can exacerbate the condition and cause additional discomfort, which may occur when one is receiving a massage from a non-professional (but well-intentioned) friend.