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What's Really Causing Your Headache?

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

Headaches are probably our most common ailment. We all have our remedies for them as well. Take an aspirin... drink some water... make a cold compress... take a nap. While the remedies certainly help, recurring or continuous headaches can be distressing. Eventually you’ll want to figure out the cause so that you can avoid having headaches in the first place. The truth is your body is already giving you clues as to the cause of your headaches. A little awareness can do much to help you get to the root of your pain and figure out when to see your doctor. Today I’ll discuss three of the most common headaches my clients have suffered with. For each I’ve developed a massage protocol which may help you as well. Of course you should speak with your doctor if your headaches are severe or won’t dissipate with medication as that can be a sign of a more serious medical issue.

Tension Headaches

Not surprisingly, the tension headache is the most common headache that has come across my table. Its pattern usually causes pain at the temples, across the forehead, and sometimes behind the eyes. This pattern is due to tension in the eye muscles and muscle strain around the neck and shoulders. Chronic tension and strain in these areas can lead to trigger points, which refer pain to the same areas in the head. The pain can be dull and nagging, sometimes lasting 7 days or more. It may be accompanied by a tight or pulling sensation in the neck and shoulders. Natural remedies for tension headaches include ensuring you’re getting enough sleep, correcting bad posture, wearing adequate eye wear, and of course, massage. There are also OTC and prescriptive medicines available from a physician.

Sinus Headaches

Your sinuses are the air-filled pockets around the bridge of your nose and in your lower forehead. Headaches in this location is likely due to a sinus infection or allergies. A sinus infection can occur when bacteria or a virus enter the nasal cavity. Your sinuses swell as the white blood cells try to protect your body from the intruder, and this swelling causes pressure in the face. Sinus headaches from allergies are similar in reaction, except they’re caused by a triggering allergen in your environment. Once you note the exact position of your sinuses, and understand how they work, it’s easy to identify these as one of the many kinds of headaches you can experience in this region. Your doctor can prescribe medicine to take care of the infection or your allergies.

TMJ Disorder

The TMJ (or temporomandibular joint) is the part of your jaw that connects to the skull. When there is strain or trauma to the TMJ, it can result in serious pain and limit range of motion in the jaw. Some common causes are grinding the teeth, arthritis, or blunt trauma that causes the TMJ to dislocate from the skull. Radiation for cancer of the head and neck can also trigger this disorder. When the pain in your TMJ restricts movement or the pain is simply unbearable, your physician will likely recommend pain medication and physical or speech and swallow therapy. In severe cases, surgery is required. You can often tell that it’s a TMJ type of pain due to the tension in your jaw. Relaxation techniques and wearing protective devices for your teeth can also help to lessen the intensity of jaw tension and pain.

How can massage help?

Massage can be a huge help in diminishing headaches! By addressing tension, trigger points in the surrounding muscles, and inducing the body's sympathetic nerve response (relaxation), your massage therapist can get you on the road to pain free living. Consider adding massage to your regimen for health maintenance today! We offer massage packages to help you address specific issues so you can get back to feeling like yourself fast. Check them out here!


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