Effective migraine headache relief is hard to come by. Many prescription medications have undesirable side effects, while some over-the-counter pills don’t work at all. Massage, however, can provide the relief you need.
Does Massage actually work for Migraine Headache Relief?
Though relatively few studies have been done on massage as a method of migraine headache relief, a recent one performed by the University of Miami School of Medicine had some heartening results.
The study took two groups of people who suffer from migraines—one took their normal medication but didn’t receive massage, the other took their medication and supplemented it with a weekly massage. The people in the massage group suffered no headaches during the course of the study.
This makes sense, since massage therapy mitigates many of the factors that contribute to migraines.
Of course, you won’t have the chance to run to your local massage studio every time a headache strikes. Massage works better as a preventative measure rather than a method of migraine headache relief.
Why Massage Helps to Prevent Migraines
Abnormal function of the brain’s blood vessels or vascular system is one of the top causes of migraines. Receiving massage therapy regularly improves your body’s circulation, helping to relieve head pain and prevent it from occurring in the future.
Although researchers haven’t pinned down exactly how stress causes migraines, there is a clear link between the two—many people who report high stress levels also suffer from migraines.
A relaxing massage, even just once a month, will reduce your stress hormones. As a result, you’ll feel more relaxed and will likely experience fewer migraines if you receive massage.
Decreases Pain from Trigger Points
Trigger points, which are patches of clenched muscle fibers that are common in the back, shoulders and neck, can transmit pain to other areas of the body, especially the head.
There is a specific massage modality, entitled trigger point therapy, which focuses on loosening these tightened muscles and alleviating the pain and discomfort they cause.
An irregular sleep pattern may trigger the production of proteins that are responsible for causing migraines, according to a study from Missouri State University. This includes not only lack of sleep, but also sleeping too much.
Remember that massage is not guaranteed to prevent migraines, nor is it recommended that you use it as a substitute for any medications you may be taking. Rather, it is a way to help improve your overall well-being, which, in turn, will reduce migraine triggers in the future.
Disclaimer: Elements of Rockville Centre is not an organization of healthcare professionals. All authoritative claims in this blog have been linked to their sources.