No one enjoys a headache. Whether yours result from shifts in the weather, the result of stress, or you experience them on a regular basis with no clear reason, headaches can be very disruptive. For some, headaches happen only in extreme circumstances of high stress, sleep deprivation, or the result of drinking too much red wine or caffeine. For other individuals, headaches or migraines are a chronic disease that disrupts their daily activities due to their severity. While headache pain can vary from person to person, there are different strategies to provide headache and migraine relief. From at-home techniques to massage therapy, you can find effective ways to alleviate your discomfort due to headaches.
What Is the Difference Between a Headache and a Migraine?
What Is a Headache?
A headache is a broad term that covers pain in any region of your head. There are different types of pain that characterize a headache. It might occur on one or both sides, or it might focus in one spot, or it can radiate across your skull. Your head might also feel like it’s being squeezed in a vice grip. Whichever type of headache you experience, the pain can vary from annoying to unbearable. The way in which the discomfort arrives can also range from a sharp pain to a throbbing sensation or even a dull, constant ache. The pain can develop gradually or arrive suddenly, lasting anywhere from under an hour to several days.
What Is a Migraine?
A migraine is much more powerful than a headache. However, there are many misconceptions about them. For instance, a migraine is not a pain you can shake off and it often won’t respond to over-the-counter medication; it’s a real, severe pain that can affect your hearing, sight, and awareness. Migraines are also considered a genetic neurologic disease, which means if your parents had them, you have a chance of getting them too, and so will your children.
Symptoms of a Migraine
Migraines affect people differently, ranging from infrequent attacks to frequent ones. The commonality is that the pain is often debilitating. The symptoms of migraine vary from person to person and can include any of the following:
- Intense throbbing head pain
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Inability to focus
- Feeling confused
Triggers of a Migraine
Similar to the symptoms, the triggers of a migraine can vary. Not everyone has a specific trigger, and even if you do, it does not mean that your migraine is your fault. Many people suffer migraines without a warning sign. Here are a few examples of known warning signs for migraines:
- Sudden food changes
- Certain food cravings
- Neck stiffness
- Increased urination
- Frequent yawning
Treating a Migraine
Anyone who suffers from frequent, severe migraines will want to talk to their family physician about the best treatment options for their unique condition. Lifestyle changes and self-care treatments, such as massage therapy and red light therapy, are excellent strategies to alleviate migraine symptoms and support healthy life choices.
Best Types of Massage for Migraines & Headaches
Massage therapy helps heal various health conditions as well as relax your body and mind. Each type of therapy has its own benefits. The following are a few techniques that work well to alleviate the symptoms of headaches and migraines.
Hot and Cold Stone Massage
If you’re looking for a deeply relaxing massage therapy, hot and cold stone massage provides a deeply rejuvenating experience while relaxing the tense muscles in your body. Reducing your stress, relaxing your body, and calming your mind are all strategies to alleviate your headache, pain and discomfort.
Those who clench or grind their teeth at night or experience temporomandibular disorder (TMJ) will find some relief with a TMJ massage. This massage technique focuses on the muscles in your face, jaw, neck, collarbone, and shoulders. Many individuals who suffer from TMJ disorder also experience headaches and find relief in TMJ massage therapy.
Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger Point Therapy is a massage technique that helps alleviate acute and chronic pain in the body, a frequent cause of headaches. During a trigger point therapy session, your RMT will massage the tender and sore points of your muscles to help relieve the pain elsewhere in your body. Tense muscles are often the result of stress and a sedentary lifestyle, which can both be causes of chronic headaches; trigger point therapy combined with some other changes in your routine can help alleviate your headaches.
Migraines are three times more prevalent in women due to hormone fluctuations. As a result, women can experience more frequent headaches during pregnancy. Not only are your hormones shifting, but your body is as well, creating tension and tightness in new areas. Pregnancy massage is tailored to your growing body using additional supports and pillows to ensure your comfort throughout the treatment. Our Registered Massage Therapists are trained in prenatal massage so you can fully relax and de-stress, knowing you’re in expert hands.
Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy offers another treatment option for headaches and migraines. Red light therapy gives your cells a boost, leading to better healing, better functioning, and better overall health. Studies have shown that regular red light therapy can help people with migraines and headaches that are caused by various conditions or triggers. Many clients at Urban Massage & Wellness’ have experienced the benefits of red light therapy in our clinic, which can be easily added on to a treatment, or can be a treatment on its own.
Other Ways to Treat Your Migraine or Headache
In addition to booking a massage treatment, there are other strategies to help you alleviate the discomfort of a headache or migraine. You can apply pressure to your temples and forehead to give a self-massage for headaches. Stretching out your stiff muscles can also help to relieve tension that may be a trigger for your headache. If you’re seeing a physiotherapist, they may also recommend a series of stretches and movements that can help.
Anyone who experiences chronic headaches or migraines should also consider following the SEEDS strategy:
- Sleep – improve your sleep patterns
- Exercise – start small and increase your frequency slowly
- Eat – healthy, well-balanced meals
- Diary – track your migraine symptoms, severity and duration
- Stress management – find ways to reduce your stress from mindfulness to massage to therapy.
Headache Massage Treatment in St. Albert
Do you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines? Give us a call at our St. Albert massage clinic, and we can help recommend the right massage techniques for your unique circumstance or book your preferred treatment with us directly on our booking page. At Urban Massage & Wellness, we’re here to help you on your journey to health and well-being.