Did you know that under the back of the skull, deep in the suboccipital muscles of the neck is a stubborn and strange point that is the cause of much pain? This trigger point is one of the most pleasing spots for massage as it can invoke a deep sense of relaxation along with therapeutic relief for tension headaches.
In combination with other neck muscles, this target area works overtime to initiate and control fine movements in addition to keeping your head atop your spine. In other words, these muscles work extra hard and need attention to restore proper balance.
Previously referred to as muscle contraction headaches by the National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke, these headaches are most often the result of stress and mental or emotional conflict. These headaches may manifest from clenching the jaw, depression, anxiety, lack of sleep, and inadequate nutrition.
The pain stemming from this condition feels as if pressure is being applied to the front of the face or around the head and neck. It can be also be accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, similar to migraines.
Massage can combat many of the symptoms of tension headaches in addition to addressing the main root of the problem. With trigger point therapy, targeted pressure can be applied to the suboccipital region of the head to work out stubborn tension and provide release. Additional benefits of massage for tension headaches include:
- Reducing perceived pain
- Decreasing intensity or frequency of headaches
- Limiting the duration of headaches
- Lessens depression or anxiety
- Increase range of motion