Monday, August 20, 2012

I constantly get headaches. What can I do?

There are many types of headaches, and depending on what the reason is for your headache, massage may be just what the doctor ordered to ease the pain you feel. Here are the two most common types of headaches.

Tension Headaches
High levels of stress, worry, anger can trigger the onset of a tension headache.

Migraines
It has been in the news lately that women suffer more often from migraine pain than do men. Researchers are saying that the reasoning has to do with genetics and how our sex determines certain parts of brain structure. Regardless of who gets them more, migraines are a pain in the...well, a pain in the head. Migraines share many of the same triggers as tension headaches, but last much longer, and are much more intense. They also are one sided, so the pain is only felt on either the right or left side of your head.

If I get headaches often, what can I do?
First thing you should do is start a headache diary. Write down when you get your headache, and how long they last. Write down your activities, what you ate, what emotions you were going through before the onset of your headache. This will help narrow down what your specific triggers are for your pain. Check this link to see a sample diary you can use.

Once you notice a pattern develop, it will be easier to keep your headaches at bay. If you notice that one of the triggers for your headaches is stress related, or due to muscle tension (tight neck, TMJ, or any other tight muscles), then frequent massage will help. Your massage therapist should do a full assessment to help you make some small changes to your daily routine. Anything from the way you are sleeping, to how you sit at work could be causing muscle tension in your neck. Your therapist can give you some ways to help you deal with unusual amounts of stress when you are not getting a massage.