A headache is a symptom not a disease. A headache is rarely a symptom of a serious illness, but severe and frequent headaches can be very exhausting in our daily life. There are basically three types of headaches:
- Muscle contraction – e.g. tension headaches
- Inflammatory – e.g. sinusitis
- Vasular – e.g. migraine
Tension Headache – Occurs when the muscle of the face, neck, or scalp are excessively tense. Tension headaches can be caused from overworking, physical or emotional stress, bad posture, and side sleeping. Symptoms include squeezing pain in the forehead, jaws, and around the back of the head and neck, irritability and/or stress. You can minimize these symptoms by eliminating the stressor and using relaxation techniques. Massage is extremely effective in eliminating tension headaches. We target our massage for these symptoms on the neck, scalp, jaw and shoulders.
Inflammatory Headache – Occurs from pressure within the head stemming from a variety of disorders. Sinusitis (sinus infection) can cause this type of a headache. Treatment for an inflammatory headache may include analgesics, antibiotics or sinus drainage, in addition to massage. We focus our massage in for inflammatory headaches on the back of the scalp and neck and utilize pressure points on the face (forehead/nose/jaw).
Migraine Headache – Occurs when the blood vessels in the head dilate and cause pressure on the nerves, resulting in pain. They are more common in woman than men. They can be caused by:
- irritation of the blood vessels in the scalp.
- foods such as aged cheese, chicken liver, citrus fruits, chocolate, red wine, msg, caffeine, alcohol
- changes in atmosphere pressure
- sunlight glare
- emotional stress
Signs and symptoms includes:
- severe throbbing headache on one side of the head
- hearing strange noises
- sensitivity to light and sound
Self treatment would include avoiding the irritants listed above, taking medications, lying in a warm room with a cold compress to the forehead and relaxation therapy. Some may also find massage to be helpful depending on how severe.