Massage for Migraines – What You Need to Know

By Faith M. Coppola

Sep 24
Woman with migraine

If you suffer from migraines, then here’s some helpful information I can share with you, as both a massage therapist and a person who experiences migraines myself.

Migraines are a neurological disorder that is usually described as moderate to severe pain which throbs behind the eyes or in one part of the head. This condition can be accompanied by nausea and almost blinding sensitivity to light and scents, and often disturbs vision too. The root cause of migraines involves nerve pathways and brain chemicals in which genetics and environmental factors play an important role.

While there is currently no known cure for eliminating migraines completely, the good news is that treatments such as massage have been found to reduce the frequency and severity of this painful condition by supporting your body’s natural healing mechanisms:

  • increasing relaxation, which allows your parasympathetic nervous system (the “repair and maintenance” functions) to engage
  • eliminating trigger points (“bunched up” areas of muscle that can cause a chain reaction of muscle tension throughout your body)
  • boosting certain brain chemicals known to promote relaxation or relieve pain

A study at the University of Miami showed that people who get massage therapy had fewer migraines – and their quality of sleep improved as well – during the time they received massage.

When a client comes to me saying they suffer from headaches or migraines, I empathize; they are no fun and oftentimes leave you feeling weak for days without relief. I know this first-hand.

When I feel a migraine coming on (or during a migraine, if I don’t catch it in time), I get a fellow massage therapist to work the tension from my entire neck and shoulder area, especially my suboccipitals (the muscles at the base of the skull) and the levator scapula muscles that run from neck to shoulders. It brings me such relief!

The next time a migraine tries sneaking up on you, or already has you down and out, come try a relieving therapeutic massage from someone who understands what you are experiencing. I will take care of the areas that get attacked when migraines attack.

Have you tried massage for your migraines before? If so, did it help? What other solutions have you found for when you feel a migraine coming on? Leave a comment and tell me about your experiences.