The following is a list of different types of headaches. Some are very common,
- Migraine: inflammation of blood vessels and arteries that wrap around the brain
- Tension: associated with Trigger points and myofascial pain
- Cluster: severe headaches that last over a period of days, weeks or months
- Chronic daily: lasting for a minimum of 15 days/month for 3 months
- Cervicogenic: headache caused by cervical spine dysfunction
- Hypoglycemic: headache caused by low blood sugar
- Drug Rebound: headache caused by overuse of headache medication
- Sinus: headache caused by swelling of sinus lining creating pressure within
- Systemic toxicity: toxins in the system; i.e. constipation can cause headaches
- Withdrawl: headache caused by interruption of daily intake of a substance like caffeine, sugar or some medications.
- Eye Strain: headache caused by staring at a screen for long hours
- Hormonal: the ebb and flow of certain hormones can cause headaches.
- Hangover: dehydration, falling blood sugar levels and blood vessel expansion
- Barometric Pressure: some individuals are sensitive to changes to pressure in the air
- Mixed: a combination of two or more of any of the above mentioned.
How can massage therapy help with headaches? Many types of headaches have a vascular or muscular component to them. Even a withdrawal headache, can cause you to clench your jaw, for example, which can make the headache pain worse. Massage therapy works very well at reducing muscle tension. Some specific techniques like trigger point therapy or myofascial release help to relax muscles and connective tissue that can directly cause a headache. Hydrotherapy works very well too; putting a cool washcloth or an ice pack on the neck can reduce blood flow to the brain, another contributing factors to headaches. Putting your feet in hot water draws blood away from the head, another technique with a similar effect.
Catherine Taman is a Registered Massage Therapist practicing in Toronto, Canada. She has a special interest in treating chronic pain, headaches, sports injuries and pregnancy related pain. To book an appointment with Catherine, visit rmtmassagetherapytoronto