|Neck and shoulder tension can cause or contribute to tension headache.|
Tension headache may last anywhere from half an hour to several days. It can be brought on or worsened by any of these factors: dehydration or missing meals, lack of sleep and tiredness, eye strain, unbalanced posture, even by certain smells or excess noise, bright light or simply by stress and anxiety. Or it can come on without any apparent reason. Poor posture with forward head carriage or upper cross syndrome can cause hypertonicity in upper back and neck. Stress or anxiety may result in subconscious shrugging of the shoulders and over time chronic muscle tightness and even muscle shortening. This is why other associated symptoms such as neck ache and stiffness, and tight shoulders are commonly present with tension headaches as well.
More often than not trigger points develop in these tight, over stressed muscles and worsen the problem by referring pain. This can be easily distinguished by their referral pattern. When the trigger point is compressed, it refers pain to the same location where the headache is felt.
More serious possible underlying causes of headache must always be ruled out. Therefore massage and self-help are always complimentary not supplementary to primary medical care. Always consult with your physician first!
Can massage help alleviate tension headache?
|Gentle stretches help relieve tension.|
The neck, shoulder muscles and scalp of the head are massaged. These are the main areas where tension is held and most common sites for trigger points. Although you will feel the benefit after just one treatment, it is best to repeat it at least once a week for couple of months, providing there are no contraindications to massage. If you suffer from tension headaches often: 10 - 15 times a month, it is best to start with this massage twice a week to really feel the difference. Then gradually lessen the frequency as needed.
What is the aim of these treatments?
The aims here are:
to reduce muscle tightness in most critical areas
to increase blood circulation into these muscles
to increase waste products elimination from them
to normalize muscle tonicity
to target trigger points
to activate and strengthen the antagonist muscles
to improve the body and posture awareness
30min relaxer massage.
|Trigger points therapy to suboccipital muscles.|
To begin with you will take few deep breaths with light pressure over your sternum, to let you concentrate on your breath and to wind down. Then the muscles are warmed up by gentle regular sweeping strokes. Slightly deeper pressure is then applied to soften the tightness in upper trapezius, levator scapulae muscles and pectoralis minor muscles as well as muscles of the shoulder, deltoid, biceps brachii and supraspinatus by shorter focused repeated strokes. Trigger point therapy then really gets to the root of the problem. After that, gentle stretches are applied three times to muscles attaching to the skull and vertebrae of the neck. When the tight muscles are stretched, you will perform very small guided movements with your neck to start activating the deep neck flexor muscles (longus capitis & longus colli). The scalp is then warmed up with tiny brisk sweeps which feels very refreshing. Following this "tension melting" brisk massage, deeper massage of the scalp is given. There are pressure points on the face to nicely round up this lovely, tension and ache relieving treatment. Gentle pull on the hair, very lightly applied, further relaxes the scalp. The massage is finished by soothing strokes over shoulders neck and head.
This treatment, as any other massage treatment, works best when you drink lots of water - at least 2 litres a day, more if you exercise. Enough sleep for effective muscle regeneration is essential, too.
Deep tissue massage, very firm in pressure, or lighter sports massage of the back with the emphasis on neck and shoulders may be done instead. It is good idea to fit one or two of these treatments in between your 30min relaxer massages from time to time, to loosen up the whole back.
|It is vital to relax suboccipital muscles to ease tension headache.|
What else might help?
Prescription drugs: analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, muscle relaxants, and amitriptyline.
Physical therapy, regular exercise and time spent outdoors daily are on the top of the list of other things you can do to prevent and relieve tension headaches. Exercise relieves stress, releases endorphins, improves body awareness. It also stimulates internal organs and has countless other positive effects on your body and mind.
|Stay healthier and younger for longer.|
Enough sleep is essential and drinking at least 2 litres of water a day. The simplest of things usually work the best!
Eliminating alcohol and stimulants such as coffee and cigarettes to minimum might help also. Keeping an eye on the amount of refined sugars you consume is a good idea as well. It provides a sudden enormous dose of energy and might make you feel easily agitated, hyperactive or jittery. Notice what foods make you feel what way.
Certain foods might cause some types of headaches, if you have intolerance to them. You can take a simple food intolerance test and try to avoid foods, that come up for you in your test. These foods cause your body to produce antibodies against them and weigh you down. Sometimes trial and error method might work best for this, simply by trying to avoid one food type for a week to see if there is any positive change.
If you have tried anything that worked for you, don't hesitate to share.
www.annag.info | 07748 315 357