WRAPPING OUR BRAINS AROUND HEADACHES
To effectively provide headache relief for their patients, health care professionals must first identify what type of headache they are dealing with. Aside from headaches due to chemicals (hormones/caffeine/alcohol/gluten, for example) and headaches due to serious medical issues (tumor/brain trauma), three main types of headaches bring sufferers to their health care provider.
Migraines have the worst reputation of any type of headache. Given that this monster presents with severe throbbing pain that can last hours to a few days, and can include nausea/vomiting and extreme light/motion sensitivity, this reputation is justified. Migraines often start with irritability and lack of concentration, followed by visual or auditory disturbances, called auras. Migraineurs often must lie down in a dark room until the pain, which is usually on one side of the forehead/temple, dissipates, leaving its victim feeling wrung out. Work life and relationships with family/friends often suffer. Currently, the cause of migraines is believed to be a neurological disturbance in which the cortex of the brain is overstimulated, causing a syndrome of symptoms, migraine being the foremost among them. The most effective treatment of migraines is prescription medicines which calm this over-excitement in the brain.
A much less complicated type of headache is caused by inflammation/degeneration of the joints of the neck themselves (cervicogenic headaches). Each of the joints (facets) of the neck refers to a dull, aching pain to the head in a specific and predictable pattern. Pain is worsened with jarring motions, and is usually on one side of the head. Treatment involves soft tissue therapies and posture education (applied by skilled massage and physical therapists) to gain flexibility and length in the muscles surrounding the joint in question, thereby unloading the compression at the joint.
Tension Type Headaches (TTH) are caused by trigger points in the muscles and tendons of the neck and head. Trigger points are taut bands within the tissue that refer to pain that travels away from the trigger point. This headache’s pain is a mild to moderate vice-like pressure in the given muscle’s referral area. TTH is resolved easily with trigger point and neuromuscular therapy applied by a specially trained massage/physical therapist.
Knowing which type of headache is at play is key. Any of our Precision Massage therapists will be happy to help identify and treat your headache issue.
Want to learn more on how we can help relieve your headaches? Give Precision Massage a call today at (314) 412-2048 and speak to one of our trained therapists.