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Massage for Tension Headache

Sources say more than 90 percent of the population has suffered a headache. Tension headache is the most common type. The pain of a tension headache is a dull ache radiating from the lower back of the head, neck, eyes, or shoulders. Sometimes it feels like a clamp is squeezing on the head. Tension headache occurs when neck and scalp muscles become overly tense. Massage therapy can be effective at relieving the pain by eliminating the muscle tension that causes headache. 

Muscle tension can be from stress, depression, or an injury. Activities that require holding the head in one position for a long time can trigger a tension headache because the neck muscles work hard to keep the head still. Computer work or doing very detailed work with the hands are examples.


The muscles in the head and neck are amazing! The head of an adult weighs about 10 pounds and can be moved in all directions. It tilts up and down, rotates left and right, and can also move forward and backward. The movements are very precise. A complex set of muscles in the neck makes this movement possible. They are in constant use every second we are awake.


It should come as no surprise that the neck muscles get tired holding that much weight. They get even more tired holding the head still for a long time. If you have spent a long time reading, playing a musical instrument, or looking at a computer screen, you know the feeling.

Muscle tension activates trigger points—small, painful areas in the muscles that cause the familiar pain of a tension headache. Typical areas of pain are in the temples, above the eyes, and the top of the head. Massage of the head, neck, and shoulders can help deactivate the trigger points and relieve the pain.

Role of Massage

Self-massage is great for the occasional headache. When headaches come more frequently or when self-massage is difficult, a therapeutic massage of the head, neck, and shoulder muscles can provide relief. The massage therapist will work slowly and methodically to relieving tension and deactivate trigger points.

Obviously, it is not convenient to get to the massage therapist every time a headache pops up. Regular massage therapy can be a preventative measure to avoid getting a headache in the first place. This is especially important if you regularly work at a desk or do an activity that requires great concentration.

Stress makes it more likely that you will get a headache. Relaxation massage can relieve the stress that contributes to tension headache. Regular massage therapy sessions help keep the situation from becoming chronic, preventing headaches from becoming more frequent. Contact me today to see how massage can help relieve your tension headaches.