If you find yourself struggling with headaches and migraines, you’re not alone. Studies show over 37 million Americans suffer from headaches. Massage Lee’s Summit is here to discuss the pain, types, and solutions for a headache. There are many different types and causes of a headache, but the most common cause is tension or muscle contraction. Learn what just a 30-minute massage can do for you and the pain in your neck and head.

But first, let’s discuss the different types of headaches. 

Types of Headaches

Tension Headache

Tightness, dull pain and ache, and pressure towards the back of your head and neck are signs of a tension headache. Sometimes referred to as stress headaches, tension headaches can feel like a clamp squeezing the skull. There are a couple of types of tension headaches including episodic tension headaches and chronic tension headaches. Statistics show episodic tension headaches occur less than 15 days per month. On the contrary, chronic tension headaches occur more than 15 days a month.

massage therapy to help treat migraines

What can cause a tension headache? Muscle tension can be caused by not enough sleep, bad posture, low iron levels, lack of caffeine, and anxiety.  

To treat tension headaches, try avoiding causes and triggers, learn to manage your stress, apply ice packs and heat, and practice proper posture. Additionally, to treat or prevent tension headaches, massage therapy is a great way to practice relaxation and muscle tension relief. 

Sinus Headache

When the sinus passages behind your eyes, cheeks, nose, and forehead are congested, a sinus headache may occur. Pain and pressure from a sinus headache can take place on either side of your head along with anywhere in the sinus area. Along with the pain and aches from the sinus pressure, you can experience a runny nose, fever, and swelling in your face when suffering from a sinus headache

To relieve the sinus headache, try drinking more fluids, a humidifier, nasal spray, or visiting the doctor. If an infection is a cause, taking antibiotics will most likely do the trick.

why massage therapy can help your headache


Migraines are extremely painful and affect almost 12 percent of America’s population. The neurological condition causes a variety of symptoms including nausea, numbness, tingling, sensitivity to light and sound, and fatigue. Migraines usually affect the forehead area but can affect both sides of the head as well. 

Even though the length and intensity of migraines vary from person to person, the average migraine lasts 4 hours. 

Causes of Migraines

Experts have not found a definitive cause of migraines yet, but factors that can trigger a migraine include dehydration, hormone changes, excess stress, malnourishment, bright lights, and changes in the barometric pressure. Low levels of the brain chemical serotonin is also a trigger for migraines. 

Keeping a headache journal is a great strategy to figure out what the cause of migraines is. When the migraine begins, take notice of the foods you have eaten, medications you are taking, and what exactly you had done that day.

Migraine Treatments

There is no cure for migraines yet, but there are treatments to help make migraines less severe and painful. First, try a few methods at home when the migraine begins.

  • Lye down in a dark, cool, and quiet environment.
  • Massage your temples and scalp.
  • Soak a cloth in cool water and place the cloth on your forehead. 

Other migraine treatments include:

  • Stress management
  • Prescription migraine medicines
  • Hormone therapy

Massage Therapy and Headaches

In order for massage therapy to be effective when treating headaches, the therapist must know the cause of the headache. The type of massage therapy treatment appropriate to treat the pain is also dependent on the patient. Below are a few common massage therapies used to treat headaches and migraines.

massage therapy techniques for muscle aches and pain

 Deep Tissue Massage Therapy

Deep tissue massage is a slow and firm massage technique that focuses on the layers of muscle and fascia in the body. Therapists use strong pressure on specific body parts, relieving tense muscles, and improving blood flow. The neck and shoulders are common areas where the massage therapist will focus when giving a deep tissue massage. 

As mentioned above, muscle tension is the cause of a tension headache. One of the main benefits of deep tissue massage is muscle tension reduction. Additionally, deep tissue massage helps with anxiety, stress, chronic back pain, and more. Stress and anxiety are triggers for headaches and migraines. How does deep tissue massage relieve stress and anxiety? Deep tissue massage boosts your body’s level of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that helps your body’s ability to relax and remain calm. 

If you’ve been struggling with tension headaches and maintaining your stress and anxiety levels, deep tissue massage may be the answer. 

Trigger Point Massage Therapy

Instead of taking medication the next time you feel pain in your neck and head, consider trigger point massage therapy for an all-natural, longer-lasting relief. Trigger point massage therapy aims for muscle strains and muscle knots. The therapist keeps pressure on the trigger point for a period of time until the pain decreases or disappears altogether. Trigger point therapy can be uncomfortable in the beginning, but the intensity and pressure begin to weaken very quickly.

Tired of waking up with a stiff neck? Sick of debilitating muscle tension headaches? Trigger point massage therapy could be exactly what your body needs. 

Self-Massage for a Headache

Scheduling an appointment might not be possible every time you are suffering from a headache. There are three self-massage techniques for treating your headache DIY.

  1. With both hands, pinch your skin tissue below your eyebrows away from your face and hold for 5-7 seconds and repeat. 
  2. Use your three middle fingers or thumbs to press firmly into the sides of your temple. Gently move them in a circular motion while still applying pressure. Hold for 7-10 seconds.
  3. Invest in a foam roller. Place a foam roller behind your head, underneath your skull. While laying on the back, use the roller long ways. Place the edge of the roller just below your skull and hold.

Final Thoughts on Massage Therapy and Headaches

Massage therapy can not only help relieve the pain caused by migraines and headaches but is considered preventative care as well. If you are headache and migraine prone, Massage Lee’s Summit is here to help. Life is too short to live in pain. Schedule an appointment today!