Massage Techniques for Tension Headaches

Tension headaches can occur at any time and greatly impact our daily lives. However, by learning massage techniques for tension headaches, you can greatly reduce their intensity and possibly stop them all together. We recommend receiving massage treatments from a trained professional, but there are a few safe techniques you can learn to use. By applying pressure in key areas, you can improve circulation, relax muscles, and reduce tension headache pain.

What are Tension Headaches?

Tension headaches can be described as mild pain or pressure in certain areas of the forehead or neck. The degree of intensity vary, but many sufferers say it feels like someone is tightly squeezing their head. In most cases, the headaches last around 30 minutes but could potentially linger for days. If you experience tension headaches fewer than 15 times a month, they are considered to be episodic. However, if they occur more than this, you may have a chronic condition.

Tension headaches can affect every aspect of your life. While symptoms vary, many individuals have experienced fatigue, blurred vision, and a lack of balance. In more severe cases, people have felt nauseous. If you or a loved one experience tension headaches regularly, we highly recommend seeking out a pain management physician.

Massage Best Practices

The best results for relieving tension headache pain is by pinpointing specific areas and maintaining constant pressure with the use of your hands or a small ball. Head pain is a bit different than the pain experienced throughout the rest of your body, so it needs to be treated in unique ways. By applying constant pressure, you allow muscle nerve endings to send signals to the brain to release and relax surrounding muscles in the head. Typically, it’s best to hold the pressure for 2-3 minutes to ensure those key muscles are deactivated. It may feel tender at first, but it’s important to maintain that constant pressure. Your fingers can certainly do the trick, but you can also use a soft yet firm ball to apply to these painful areas. Tennis balls work nicely since they seem to have the perfect amount of resistance. You should repeat this process 3-5 times throughout the day and slowly taper off as the headaches improve.

Techniques for Temple Headaches

Tempe tension headaches are commonly experienced and can cause a significant amount of pain due to their tender areas. To get rid of or dull this pain, we recommend using your thumb or a firm ball to apply constant pressure for 2-3 minutes on the areas that feel the most tender. Typically you’ll be able to find these areas quickly since they are pulsing with mild pain. Once done, slowly begin moving the applied pressure up towards the crown of your head. Again, a ball might work best since they can easily roll upwards. Clenching your jaw may play a factor in the development of these headaches, so try to be mindful of how often you tense up these areas.

Techniques for Eyebrow & Cheek Headaches

Another painful type of tension ache can be experienced on your eyebrows, cheeks, or where your eyes meet your nose. Luckily, massage techniques for tension headaches can help alleviate this pressure. For the bridge of your nose, we recommend using your thumbs to apply pressure. For your cheekbones and eyebrows, your thumbs or a tennis ball will work nicely. However, it’s important to find the right areas to concentrate on. The sweet spot for cheeks is 1 inch below your eye’s center and level with your nostrils. For your eyebrows, try to focus on the thinner end of them. Once again, apply pressure for 2-3 minutes. If you feel one of these headaches coming on, try draping a damp hot towel over your face for several minutes.  

Techniques for Neck Aches

Tension pain can also occur on the back of your neck near the base of your skull. This type of neck pain can cause a great deal of discomfort, especially if you stare at a screen all day. To decrease the pain in these areas, use 2 to 3 fingers or 2 tennis balls to apply pressure where your head meets the back of your neck. Try to follow the pulse of pain to find the right position. As described before, apply constant pressure in 2-3 minute intervals. If you experience this kind of neck pain often, consider trying a different kind of pillow to sleep on. If the pain persists, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your physician.

At US Pain & Spine Institute, we specialize in conservative pain management and are dedicated to granting relief to chronic pain sufferers. With a wide variety of treatment options, we can find a solution that best suits you. Want to learn more? Visit us online or contact us today to start your journey towards a life with little to no pain. At US Pain & Spine Institute, we’re more than pain management physicians; we’re your health partners.