Massage for Migraine Relief
Migraine headaches plague about 20 percent of the population. Some people suffer from frequent migraines, a condition that results in disruptions to sleep patterns, family routines and work. Mild migraines present a nuisance, but severe migraines can be debilitating. People suffering from a severe migraine headache report severe pain, often accompanied by sensitivity to light or noise and nausea.
Problems With Traditional Treatment
Traditional treatment of migraines usually involves over-the-counter or prescription pain medications. There are two problems with traditional treatments.
Excessive use of painkillers by frequent migraine sufferers can lead to side effects. The most common side effects are damage to the stomach lining, leading to ulcers, and the development of chronic daily headaches.
The second problem is that painkillers may take the edge off migraine pain but often don’t fully relieve symptoms.
Combining traditional treatments with massage therapy can help reduce migraine symptoms. Regular massage therapy may even help to prevent migraine onset.
Massage Therapies for Migraines
A number of different types of massage therapy can relieve muscle tension in the neck and shoulders. Reducing this tension helps migraine sufferers sleep better and in some people is successful at relieving pain.
Deep-tissue massage therapy is one option. In this type of massage, the therapist uses deep finger pressure to reduce tension in tight muscles. By focusing on the neck and shoulders, the therapist can help relieve some of the pain and pressure associated with a migraine.
A neuromuscular massage works to relieve pressure and tightness around trigger points (these are akin to acupuncture points) and nerves. This kind of massage uses more moderate pressure than a deep-tissue massage.
Craniosacral massage is a gentle massage of the scalp and skull. Preliminary studies conducted by the Department of Neurology at the University of North Carolina show promise for craniosacral massage as a successful treatment for migraine headaches.
In addition to more traditional forms of massage, migraine sufferers might want to try energy-based massage methods such as acupressure, reflexology or reiki.
Acupressure stimulates the same energy points used in acupuncture by using finger pressure instead of needles. The premise is that these points develop energy blockages. The pressure helps the energy begin moving properly again, bringing relief.
Reflexology involves stimulating pressure points on the base of the feet to bring relief to pain or disorders throughout the body.
A reiki practitioner uses gentle touching to stimulate energy flow and healing throughout the body.
These methods don’t have as much research supporting them, but they are each very gentle and soothing. Different individuals have different experiences, so you may find that they bring you substantial relief.