Tension Type Headaches (TTH) are a common problem, but they rarely indicate a serious health issue. However, frequent headaches can be a bother and affect the quality of your life. Apart from feeling unwell, you may also be concerned whether there is an underlying issue. You may even be having headaches on a daily basis, affecting everything in your life. In this article, you will learn about the causes of muscular headaches and how helping yourself with Massage for Tension Type Headaches (TTH).
Causes of Headaches
Headaches can be broadly classified into three types: those induced by a neck injury, migraine, or muscular tension. For instance, a sudden trauma to the neck, such as repetitive strain injuries or whiplash can directly cause a headache. This can occur immediately after the incident or afterward as the injury to the ligaments or muscles in the neck causes an accumulation of tension.
You may also have a headache because of migraines. Although less common, migraines can cause intense and throbbing one-sided headaches that can spread to the face, jaw, and neck. They can be preceded by a visual aura about 30 minutes before headaches and often accompanies by some symptoms. You may experience sensitivity to light or sound, numbness, nausea, or vomiting. The contributing factors could be hormonal imbalance, lack of sleep, unhealthy diet, or taking certain medications. However, the most common types of headaches are caused by tension in the neck or shoulder.
Tension headaches are caused by knots in muscles, particularly in the upper back region, shoulders, and neck. The pain level experience from this kind of headache is varied but usually depends on how chronic the tension is. Most people describe tension headaches as a tight band that is felt around the head or at their temples. This may include the forehead and scalp and often involve mild to moderate pain levels. You may also feel stiffness in the neck, indicating the source of the headache. The causes of the tension are varied, and include;
- Poor posture
- Stress and anxiety
- Desk work or smartphone use
- Repetitive movements
- Eye strain
- Muscle injury
- Teeth grinding or jaw clenching
- Lack of sleep
Many people usually hold on to tension in their shoulders and neck all the time. However, some days can become quite tense and may cause headaches to occur. Other people will only have tension occasionally, but it can be so intense that it causes headaches. Similarly, headache symptoms vary significantly, with some lasting for a few hours while others may take several days to clear.
How Massage Can Help with Headaches
Massage Therapy is an effective remedy for many people with muscular headaches. Whether you have occasional tension or chronic tension, a visit to a massage therapist can greatly help. This kind of massage focuses on releasing the tension in the neck and shoulders, relieving the headache in the process. Simply put, massage helps in relaxing muscles that would otherwise add to the frequency and severity of tension headaches.
Massage Therapy is an effective remedy because it fully relaxes and releases the tension on the neck and shoulder. It can also break down muscle knots that worsen headaches. Professionally known as adhesions, these muscle knots are where muscle fibers become stuck together after an extended period of tension. An individual who suffers from tension headaches will usually have several of these adhesions in the muscles of their neck, shoulders, and upper back.
Massage for Tension Type Headaches (TTH) requires a special approach, the therapist focuses on the sides and the back of the neck, areas around the shoulder blades, and the top of the shoulder. As a headache treatment, massage loosens up tension in the shoulders, neck, and head. This stretches out tight and shortened muscles while eliminating trigger points to release a headache. The process also increases blood flow, boosting the provision of oxygen and nutrients to the head. With this improved blood circulation, the massage encourages removal or sate up products and built-up toxins and further soothes the symptoms.
When you have this kind of massage, the therapy relaxes the muscles in this region to give you instant relief from headaches. The more frequently the area is massaged, the more effective the therapy is in keeping the shoulder and neck area tension free to prevent headaches. In fact regular headaches message helps in preventing headaches and migraines. It maintains healthy muscles, decreases physical and mental health, and helps to reduce the intensity and frequency of pain.
Massage for Tension Type Headaches (TTH) is not only limited to muscular tension pain but can also be used for cases of neck or shoulder injury. For instance, you may have suffered muscle strains or whiplash that resulted in a headache. Having a massage will encourage the healing and breakdown of scar tissues that may have triggered the headache. It will also help in improving postural problems such as head forward and rounded shoulders.
Pain and Stress Relief
Regular massage plays an important role in releasing tension and stress. It ensures that your body and mind are relaxed, which is particularly important for health. By letting go of the tension from your head region and the rest of your body, you are sending a message to your brain that all is well.
Choosing the Right Massage for Headaches
The choice of massage will depend on the severity of the headache. If the headache is caused by anxiety or psychological stress, a Swedish massage can help to relax and unwind. This will relax the muscles naturally and release the heads. If you are having intense headaches associated with symptoms like clenching of jaws or shrugging of shoulders in stressful situations, you may need to consider deep tissue massage. This will provide a more focused treatment to release muscle tension, stiffness, and knots causing the pain.