Head and Neck Massage

Does Neck Massage Help With Migraines?

Kneading the back of your neck while you’re suffering from a migraine often makes you feel better. A great massage therapist like Katie Hudgins, LMT offers a dimly lit room, warm heating pad, soft covers, and a gentle pressure at the base of the skull where tight neck muscles are bunched up and aching.

Not all headaches are migraines. If you’ve been diagnosed with migraines you’re one of the not-so-lucky part of the population that experiences auras, shifting vision, and throbbing pain.

Modalities that use deep pressure, myofascial release, craniosacral, and traction can all provide relief for many types of regular headaches but we highly recommend orthopedic massage.


These types of headaches are still misunderstood by many; they are somewhat mysterious. Believed to be caused by all types of things: neck alignment, irritants in the environment, hormonal changes, neurological problems, vascular weakness, food sensitivities, and/or blood sugar regulation. Migraines can be extremely severe and can last up to several days. These headaches do usually come with extra symptoms, such as sensitivity to light, sound, and nausea/vomiting.

Massage Reduces Headaches

An estimated 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches. Chronic headaches are one of the most common complaints made to physicians and practitioners every year. These people, headache sufferers, are searching Google every day for answers about which treatments help the most. Headaches are usually treated with NSAID’s or over-the-counter prescription medications. Medications can be highly effective but are only a temporary solution for a chronic problem. Massage therapy has shown to be effective in treating migraine and tension headaches for thousands of people a year.

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches can be caused by muscle spasms, TMJ dysfunction, trigger points, neck alignment, stress, overactive or under performing hormones, dehydration, and work-related stress/anxiety. Tension headaches feel like a tightness or constriction in the head, pain in the neck or referred pain in the shoulders, arms, jaw, or as pain around the temple and behind the eyes, occasionally with pulsing behind the eyes. Tension headaches udo not typically cause other sensitivities, like a sensitivity to light or sound or nausea.

Both tension headaches and migraines have been effectively treated by orthopedic massage therapists for many years. Cradling the skull carefully, while applying pressure underneath the skull around the suboccipitals changes the muscle fibers holding the head in place. Not only can massage relieve headache pain, it can also prevent headaches from occurring by regularly loosening up tissue and encouraging proper blood flow to related structures. Massage is helpful for a large number of reasons.

Promoting Circulation

Massage increases blood flow in areas that might be ischemic (lacking blood flow) to help renew beneficial oxygen to the muscle tissues and relieve pain.

Decreasing Pain From Trigger Points

Believed to be hyper-irritable tissue or nerve locuses or restricted fascia (no one knows for sure) Trigger points are very tender and also can refer pain to other areas of the body. Trigger Point Therapy or Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) decreases painful referral patterns that send messages into the neck and head.

Massage Relieves Muscle Spasm

Massage can help relieve headaches, loosen chronically tight muscles, taut bands of tissue, relaxing strains and re-energizing weak patterns. This changes the muscle balance encouraging proper neck alignment. Loosening the muscles that attach to the base of the skull relieves the tension headaches that travel up the back of the head and eye. Intense constricting headaches are calmed, soothed, and the client is comforted.

Massage Encourages Beneficial Hormones

Massage Therapy has shown to decrease levels of cortisol. It also increases endorphins, stimulating the Parasympathetic Nervous System, (PNS) promoting relaxation. This hormonal effect is radical. After one Massage therapy session the quality of your sleep can be improved.

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