You feel it coming on, that throbbing pain, the pulsating sensation in the head, and you know a migraine is setting in. Usually migraines affect one side of the head, but it can be all encompassing, and it can last anywhere to a few hours to days. Often migraine suffers will feel nausea and have extreme sensitivity to light and sounds. Migraines can be very painful and debilitating when they occur. Doctors will usually prescribe pain medications to help reduce the symptoms and give the sufferer some relief when a migraine sets in. If you suffer from frequent migraines, your doctor may even recommend that you receive regular massage treatments to help ward off the migraines and to help reduce the duration and severity of the pain when they do occur.
Massage has a long history of being an effective remedy for headache suffers. Massage therapy helps reduce the effects of both tension and vascular headaches by:
Depending on the stage of your migraine, the type of massage that you should receive may vary. For the more intense, full blown migraines, a more subtle modality such as Cranial Sacral work may be more beneficial, if you are able to go receive treatments. Having a therapist doing a lot of deep work and increasing the blood flow may only add to the pulsating pain you may be feeling, so wait on deeper, more aggressive massage work. When your symptoms are less severe, or when you are not experiencing a migraine, Deep Tissue work and Trigger Point or Neuromuscular massage treatments may work amazingly at helping to prevent the next migraine from occurring. A lot of Asian modalities, such as Shiatsu and Tui Na, are both excellent at treating and preventing both tension and vascular headaches as well.
If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from migraines, give massage therapy a try at helping to reduce the frequency and severity of the pain. No one likes having to take medications and having to go lie down in a dark and silent room for hours or days. Start incorporating massage therapy into your prevention and treatment regime. You might just find that your body and mind will thank you for the relief, and allow you to get back to living your life faster.
Courtney Truax, LMT is a graduate of East West College of the Healing Arts in Portland, Oregon. She is licensed through the Oregon Board of Massage Therapy and a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. She has her own studio massage practice in the heart of downtown Lake Oswego, Oregon.