Massage for Headaches: Migraine Attacks Up Close and Personal

Therapeutic massage often works in relieving migraine headaches, according to a legion of people who suffer from migraines, an often-debilitating condition that is much more than a bad headache. It is a painful attack which, from beginning to end, may stretch over a span of 72 hours, even more, based on various migraine types.

We do know, as previously reported here more than a year ago, that there is and abundance of patient attestation that massage brings relief to many who turn to this approach for relief and the opportunity to get on with their lives, including their jobs and family responsibilities. We also know that the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) continues to await viable studies accepted by mainstream medicine “to confirm massage’s healing powers over migraines beyond the testimonial evidence of those who have experienced its healing powers.”

We can tell you that there are a number of things you’ll want to know about what constitutes a migraine. The pathological definition simplifies a migraine as “a throbbing headache usually affecting only one side of the head and commonly accompanied by nausea and visual disturbances,” It is a neurological disease, a disorder of the nervous system.

There are a recognized 150 types of headaches divided into the categories of secondary and primary. Migraines are among the primary class, ranked as the fifth or sixth most debilitating disease worldwide and regarded as a genetic disorder suffered at various intervals by twelve percent of Americans.

But it is much more than the pathological definition. If you believe you are a sufferer of migraines, here are some things you should know:

√ Triggers for a migraine often involve sound, light, even movement, resulting in an assortment of symptoms including throbbing pain, nausea, blurry vision or even loss of vision, abject tiredness or fatigue, nausea and even difficulty speaking.

√ These symptoms may intensify with smells, lights, noise and physical activity, which often requires surrendering to a dark, quiet room and remaining as immobile as possible.

√ Another common symptom is the aura, which is much than a halo or radiating light with spiritual implications. This phenomenon is experienced by one of every five migraine patients. It is essentially a warning that you are on the threshold of a serious migraine attack and might be described as a cluster of motor, sensory and speech symptoms often mistaken as a stroke or seizure. It is known as an aura because there are often flashing bright lights and similar imagery accompanying other reactions like ringing in the ears, the soundtrack of this unwelcome light show.

√ There are migraines with auras (complicated) without auras (common) or even without head pain (silent), which may complicate the determining diagnosis. You can experience the aura without the throbbing head pain and vice versa.

√ Other types of migraines include hemiplegic— temporary paralysis as the primary symptom; retinal or ocular— partial or complete loss of vision; chronic— experienced at least 15 days out of every month, and migrainosus status— a rare type that typically lasts more than 72 hours.

Therapeutic massage primarily addresses the pain of a migraine and offers essential relaxation techniques. Testimonial or observational evidence by migraine sufferers treated by therapeutic massage who claim relief of other symptoms is not yet scientifically verified. The important thing for these patients is that it works for them.

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy to learn how massage might ease and eliminate pain from your life.