Friday, March 17, 2023

Where To Massage For Migraine

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Breakdown Of A Migraine Attack

2 Easiest Neck Self Massages for Headaches, Migraines and Neck Pain.

Migraine is a neurological disease, not a vascular issue as previously thought.

Peter Goadsby, M.D., who is a neurologist and headache specialist at the University of California San Francisco, describes the disease as an inherited tendency to have headaches with sensory disturbance. Its an instability in the way the brain deals with incoming sensory information, and that instability can become influenced by physiological changes like sleep, exercise and hunger.1

Migraine is a complex condition that can be activated by a variety of factors, but also mitigated by a range of interventions.

First, lets explore how migraines develop. Each migraine cycles through four phases.2 The accompanying symptoms in each phase can vary dramatically among people who suffer from migraines.

What Type Of Massage Is Good For Migraines

Guys, this head massage is actually super simpleand doesn’t require shelling out $$ for a fancy deep tissue situation.

Here’s how to give yourself a migraine massage according to Dr. Mafee.

  • Mix two drops each of peppermint oil, frankincense, and lavender oil into one tablespoon of a base oil . If you don’t have the essential oils on hand, using just the base oil is totally fine.
  • Rub a small bit of your mixture onto your index and middle fingertips.
  • Massage your temples with those two fingers in a circular motion for 30 seconds.
  • Switch directions and massage your temples for another 30 seconds.
  • While a lot of people find success with this technique , Dr. Mafee stresses that it’s important that you don’t press down too hard. By applying too much pressure you run the risk of the massage hindering any relief and making your migraine worse. Basically, do what feels good to you and don’t go over your pain threshold.

    Why Try Pressure Point Work On Your Headaches

    With no side effects or big price tags, trying pressure point techniques is low cost and low risk for many people. Even better, with the following images and directions courtesy of, you can learn acupressure without leaving your home.

    You can practice acupressure for headache and migraine attacks at home to relieve some of the pain, tightness, and abdominal issues that come with an attack. Working on pressure points for headaches is a safe, natural way to get relief from migraine and headache symptoms and a free tool worth adding to your toolkit.

    Read Also: What Is An Intractable Migraine

    How To Find The Right Therapist

    Any well-trained massage therapist should be able to provide treatment that relaxes your body and mind. If you hope to see a massage therapist who has specific knowledge about the role of massage for migraine relief, youâll need to do some research.

    • You can search the AMTAâs website for a therapist near you. Use the search term âmigraine,â in addition to your city.
    • On your own or through your health care provider, find a headache center near you that offers massage.
    • Before you book a massage, ask if the therapist has taken a continuing education course on massage for migraines, which offers education about migraines and the appropriate types of massage to ease migraine pain.

    You can also be your own massage therapist. Ask your headache doctor or a trusted massage therapist for tips on technique. And donât forget the ancient practice of acupressure, which has a long history of use for easing pain and headaches. Use your right thumb and forefinger to squeeze the fleshy tissue at the base of your left thumb and forefinger. Press down and massage the area for 5 minutes, and then switch hands.

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    Adopt A Headache Diet


    Certain foods, while delicious, have been known to contribute to headaches. Try keeping a headache diary of the foods and drinks you consume on a daily basis or specifically when you experience a headache.

    If you identify a particular trigger, avoid it for some time and see if the headaches reduce. Possible problem foods include:

    Caffeine-containing foods and beverages. Examples include chocolate, coffee, cola, and tea.

    Monosodium glutamate-containing foods. MSG is used as a preservative and has traditionally been used in some Asian cooking. Its also found in foods like instant ramen noodles.

    Nitrate-containing foods. Most simple meats, such as hot dogs, lunch meat, sausage, and pepperoni can cause headaches.

    Tyramine-containing foods. Tyramine is a compound produced by the breakdown of an amino acid called tyrosine, and its found in foods like pizza and aged cheeses.

    The warmth and comfort of a steaming cup of herbal tea makes it an excellent way to wind down at night. Those same soothing qualities can have pain-relieving effects. Because herbs can interact with medical conditions and medications, its important to check with a doctor before drinking these teas.

    Favorites for relaxation include chamomile, ginger, and dandelion.

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    The Science Behind Pressure Points And Headaches

    Theres not too much science that supports the use of reflexology to treat headaches, and the studies we have are small and need to be expanded.

    However, there are a few studies that have looked into how massage therapy on the head and shoulders can relieve headaches. This sometimes involves stimulating pressure points on the head.

    In one small study from 2002 , scientists investigated how massage might help four adults who were experiencing chronic tension headaches, defined as experiencing tension headaches two to three times per week for 6 months.

    In the study, the massages lowered the number of headaches in each study participant within the first week of treatment. By the end of the treatment period, the average number of headaches each study participant experienced fell from almost seven headaches per week to just two per week. The average length of a study participants headache also decreased by half during the treatment period from an average of 8 hours to an average of 4.

    In a much older but slightly larger study from 1990, scientists looked at how 10 intense 1-hour massage treatments spread over 2 weeks might affect 21 women experiencing chronic headaches. As in the smaller study, participants in this study received massages from certified massage practitioners. The effects of the massages were then studied on a more long-term time frame.

    Do you have migraine attacks too? There have also been studies on stimulating pressure points for migraine relief.

    Swedish Massage For Migraines

    Note the last symptom I listed above. Emotional stress will turn a migraine attack into a repetitive loop. The malfunctioning SNS leads to a migraine, and then the stress caused by the migraine will cause the SNS to activate again. For this reason, people who suffer from anxiety, as well as migraines, may have them more frequently.

    The main benefit of Swedish massage is emotional relaxation. It lowers heart rate, improves circulation, and slows respiration reversing the responses of a firing SNS. The gliding and kneading of a Swedish massage reactivate the parasympathetic nervous system , which is known as the rest-and-digest system. When the PNS suppresses the SNS, the muscles relax and the pain lessens. Any patient enduring migraines can benefit from a relaxation massage, and those with anxiety may want to get them more frequently. A gentle scalp massage can be soothing too unless the scalp is too tender.

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    Can You Use Massage For Headache Relief

    Can you use massage for headache relief? We consult the experts to find out

    We all know the therapeutic benefits of a relaxing treatment, but as well as reducing stress levels, can you use massage for headache and migraine relief?

    According to Sally Chamness, massage therapist and owner of Phoenix Health and Wellness , headaches can be the symptom of many different things, from dehydration to hormone imbalances, and from tension to more serious neurological conditions.

    Massage can be a great source of relief for stress and tension headaches, she says. The most common areas that cause headaches are tension in the jaw, temples, neck or shoulders.

    Want the really good news? When you cant get to a massage therapist, you can do one yourself at home. Head massages in particular have also been shown to reduce blood pressure, improve circulation and support hair growth, so read on to find out how it all works.

    And if you’re also suffering from stubborn knots or muscle soreness, check out out guide to the best massage guns for a self-massage tool you can use at home.

    Face: Third Eye And Drilling Bamboo

    Instant Headache Relief in Seconds with Self Massage. Do-it-Yourself

    The third eye, also called Yin Tang, is a pressure point located between the eyebrows in the middle of the forehead. Applying pressure to this point can help relieve tension in the head, face, and eyes.

    Drilling bamboo, also called Zanzhu, refers to two pressure points located where the bridge of the nose joins the two brow bone ridges. Applying pressure to these points can help relieve headache pain from eye strain and sinus pressure.

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    Reflexology To Relieve A Migraine:

    Reflexology is one of the most known alternative therapies that is based on the pressure and massage of the points on the soles in the feet. This massage therapy can be used to relieve pain and stress and thus is beneficial in relieving a migraine. There are corresponding zones in the feet that correspond to all areas of the body. In reflexology, your therapist will manipulate these zones to relieve a migraine with massage.

    Union Valley Pressure Point Large Intestine 4

    The Union Valley pressure point is located in the web or fleshy depression between the thumb and the index finger.

    This tension headache relief pressure point releases pressure in the neck and head. It is also great for pain in the face, head, and neck, especially when it comes to sinuses, jaw pain, and earaches. The LI4 point can also help with detoxification and menstrual cramps.

    How to stimulate the union valley pressure point:

    Using the thumb and index finger of the opposite hand, apply gentle yet firm pressure on the fleshy depression for 3 minutes. Take deep breaths during this time. You can also massage the area in small circles.

    You should not stimulate this point if you are pregnant, as it can induce labor in some instances.

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    Ear: Ear Gate Daith And Ear Apex

    The ear gate, also called Ermen, is a pressure point located at the upper area of the base of the ear that connects the ear to the head. Applying pressure to this point can help relieve ear and jaw pressure, which can help ease migraines and tension headaches.

    The daith refers to a section of cartilage located above the ear canal opening. Applying pressure to this point, or ear piercing to the area, may help relieve migraines by altering stimulation of the trigeminal and vagus nerves that contribute to migraine pain.

    The ear apex, also called Erjian, is located at the middle of the top of the earlobe. It is believed that applying pressure to this point can help relieve earaches, migraines, and tension headaches.

    The Science Of Massage And Migraine

    Sinus &  Migraine Massager

    Dawn Buse, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Director of Behavioral Medicine at the Montefiore Headache Center in New York, says that although firm scientific data is lacking, patients still find value in massage therapy.

    Data on the efficacy of massage for migraine are somewhat limited. This does not mean that massage is not helpful for migraine, but rather that there have been few studies, and they have had smaller samples and less rigorous designs, so we do not have the scientific evidence necessary to make a conclusive statement about its efficacy. This is due in large part to the fact that there is less funding available to support research on massage and other non-pharmacologic treatments than there is to support the testing of new medications, she explains. However, many patients find massage therapy helpful, in which case I encourage them to make it a regular part of their treatment plan along with other healthy lifestyle habits, relaxation and self-care activities.3

    Though limited, there have been a few studies that point to a positive connection between massage and migraine relief.

    Also Check: Can Migraines Cause Ear Pain

    Other Support For Ongoing Care

    Your massage therapist or our on-site physiotherapist will be able to advise you on further steps that can help to prevent and massage headaches. This could include yoga, tips to improve posture, supplements and a balanced diet. An individual plan for massage can also be created to maximise the benefits of this therapeutic treatment. .

    Remember: If your headache is not getting better or occurs suddenly, it is recommended to seek medical advice. It can be a symptom of more serious conditions and should not just be ignored.

    Special Techniques For The Muscles Of Head Neck And Jaw

    Many of the muscles of the head, neck and jaw are very thin or overly sensitive structures so the basic massage and trigger point therapies techniques above are sometimes not appropriate. Because of this we will give you some modified techniques. These are an amalgamation of the techniques used and found to be very effective in several clinical trials .

    Pressure technique

    These are most suited for the thin muscles that overly the skull or the jaw. The basic technique is as follows.

  • Using the tip of your finger examine the muscle for tightness and tender lumps . Because some of the muscles are thin these lumps may only be felt as localised areas of tightness.
  • Once found, using the same finger tip apply pressure to your tolerance. You may feel the pain fade and/or the muscle relax. Maintain this pressure until this relaxation is felt, or for a maximum of two minutes.
  • Finish with about 5-10 seconds of gentle rubbing using a circular motion about 1 cm indiameter.
  • Pinching technique

    When using the pressure technique described above the pressure passes through to the structures behind the muscles. In some cases this is not appropriate. However sometimes the muscle is large enough to pinch. To do this, examine the muscle with your finger tips for tightness or trigger points. Instead of pressing the muscle against something pressure is applied to the trigger point by placing it between the pinching fingers.

    Recommended Reading: Excedrin Migraine Vs Extra Strength

    Traditional And Aromatherapy Massage

    Traditional or classic massage is a gentle yet invigorating and effective massage. It is one of the most widely performed massage types.

    This type of massage involves stretching, kneading, percussion, and tapping. Your therapist may use lotions or oils to reduce friction, and in some cases, they may use aromatherapy to increase relaxation and well-being.

    Traditional or aromatherapy massage is a great option for those who prefer a softer touch. It is not as intense as Thai massage, for example.

    The Benefits Of Touch

    7 Pressure Points To Relieve Your Headache

    Being comfortable with your therapist is a key factor to finding relief. After all, this person is touching your naked body for about an hour! If theres any sort of disconnect, you wont be able to fully relax and reap the benefits.

    This comes with being open and honest about what youre looking to receive from the massage – are you hoping to just relax or are you trying to work through some pain points? Are you feeling extra stressed that day or are you in a positive mood? These are things your therapist can pick up on and work through on the table.

    One key point that I think is often overlook is that migraine can be isolating. Having the comfort of someone elses touch can be incredibly healing.

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    Cold Stone Massage Therapy To Relieve A Migraine:

    Cold Stone Massage Therapy is one more effective massage therapy for migraines, which makes use of cold stones. Here cold stones are applied with ice, which aids in relaxing the nerves in the head, which in turn helps in relieving migraine headaches. These cold stones are placed on the forehead, in the anterior or posterior region of the neck. Hot stone treatments can also be added to the cold stone therapy of massaging to relieve a migraine.

    Acupressure And Other Techniques

    There are many systems of points that are said to benefit headaches and other conditions. Examples are acupuncture/acupressure and shiatsu. There is a very large overlap between these points and trigger points . The easiest way to think of these is that over time different people or cultures have found basically the same points but made up their own story around them. The description of trigger points is based upon science. The take home message is that you just look for the changes in the muscles and treat them irrespective of the label they have been given. In separate articles on sleep, high blood pressure and anxiety we discuss that scientists have successfully used massage and trigger point therapy to help these conditions without considering any special system of points.

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    Manipulating The Temporalis Muscle

  • 1Find your temporalis muscle. Headaches caused by the temporalis muscle are very common. The temporalis muscles is located on the sides of your head, going from your upper jaw, over the top of your ear and then back behind your ear. Problems with the temporalis muscle can be linked to TMJ problems as well.XResearch source
  • 2Apply pressure to the temporalis muscles. While either sitting or standing up straight, press the fingertips of your index and middle fingers of both hands to the spots above your temple. While pressing, open and close your jaw several times. Move your fingers around, in that general area, to all the spots where you feel discomfort and open and close your jaw several times at each spot.XResearch sourceDeLaune, < i> Trigger Point Therapy< /i> , 110.
  • As an alternative, you can simply yawn over and over again to stretch the temporalis muscles without using your hands to apply any pressure.
  • 3Stretch the temporalis muscles. Get both temporalis muscles heated up slightly before you do this stretch by putting hot packs, a heating pad at low temperature, or a warm wet cloth on both sides of your head above your ear. Once the muscles are loosened up, lie on your back and look at the ceiling. Put the index finger of either hand inside your mouth and pull your jaw down by applying pressure to the area just behind your bottom teeth.XResearch source
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