Can Massage Therapy Help My Headaches?

Yes of course! Why not get a 30 minute massage that leaves you feeling relaxed and rids you of that muscle tension. I do get this question quite often in the clinic and there are only a few cases where I would say, “lets hold off.” Here is how I view massage.

The pros of massage:

1) People perceive massage to be relaxing, stress relieving, a luxury, beneficial to your health… I could keep going but the idea is that the perception of an intervention gives it a much better chance of success.

2) Muscles are one of the primary pain generators with tension headaches. Whether it is shoulder tension or neck tension, a massage therapist can do wonders on tissue tension and what are called “trigger points” or “knots.”

The cons:

1) There are several other pain generators and movement problems that must be addressed in order to find the long term relief we are looking for.

2) Massage therapists are not trained to diagnose and treat according to a diagnosis. They are able to find spots of tissue tension and reduce that tension, but it is only a piece of the puzzle and in order to get a proper diagnosis you will need to see a health care provider that has a more comprehensive approach.

To summarize:

I am a big fan of massage therapists and often refer my patients to be seen by one following treatment. It is important to see massage therapy as an adjunct and not as a primary form of treatment. Seeing a provider that knows how to properly diagnose and treat your headaches is crucial to finding relief.

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