Do you ever get headaches? In my clinic I get clients with headaches all the time.
Why do we get them and how do we treat them?
Here I will explore possible reasons for the rising headaches and how I can help you get rid of them.
The first thing I ask when a client presents with a headache is, where is your headache located? Do you experience it around the eye, forehead, temples, at the back, or at the sides? Does it come up from the neck like a question mark? This is very important information, as it tells me where to look for trigger points.
Trigger points I hear you say, what are they?
A trigger point is a taut band in a muscle that is painful when pressed on and is causing trouble elsewhere through a predictable pain pattern. It is basically a knot that refers pain to different areas or locally, depending on the pain pattern. Janet Travell is the founder of the incredible technique known as Trigger Point Therapy. She mapped the whole body, noting where and how trigger points can be found and how they can be treated in order to get people out of pain. She treated J.F. Kennedy and he always praised her, saying how he could never have done his job, if she wasn’t treating him to get him out of chronic pain.
Look at the following pictures. Can you find your headache? Most of my clients will point to one or two pictures and say ‘YES THAT’S ME!’ Once they identify themselves in these images, the magic starts.
After warming the body with Amma Fusion (Eastern Techniques) and Myofascial Release, I start treating the specific muscles the client has pointed out to me. The client then has to communicate to me when I hit the spot that provokes the pain. When we have found the spot, we wait 10-12 seconds two to three times until the pain sensation changes or eases off. Sometimes the pain gets worse before it reduces, but usually in the first treatment clients experience the pain going away on compression.
In one to six treatments the trigger point should release and headaches may be entirely gone. Ideally the first few treatments are weekly and then there can be more space between the latter follow-ups. After those one to six very focused and effective treatments, monthly maintenance is what should the keep the client out of pain, accompanied by managing possible causes of the pain.
Why do we develop these trigger points?
Well there can be a lot of reasons! First of all, posture and how we (repetitively) move throughout the day. You can imagine muscles get stiff if we move them constantly in the same way and that is perfect ground for trigger points to develop. Muscles want to move, that is their function. So my suggestion is, move a lot, but stretch them too in order to keep them supple.
I’d like to highlight one specific condition that can also relate to headaches, namely teeth grinding. Clenching the jaw is something clients often do subconsciously, either in their sleep or when they are stressed. This puts a lot of strain on the sternocleidomastoid, masseter, temporalis and trapezius. In these muscles the trigger points create pain around the jaw, causing the associated headaches to those points.
With focused trigger point work, people can have significantly reduced pain and have their overworked muscles released, improving mobility and range of motion of the cervical spine. The sternocleidomastoid plays a very interesting part, creating symptoms for clients that can go even further than a headache; it can be ear ringing (tinnitus), red eyes and migraines. Also whiplash, torticollis (or wry neck) often has the sternocleidomastoid as the main culprit for their condition.
Secondly, stress is evidently part of the puzzle, which manifests differently for everyone but you can imagine many ways that stress holds you in its grip. In times of stress, you probably hold yourself differently and are unnecessarily tensed. Massage is so powerful, because it taps into the parasympathetic nervous system that is responsible for slowing you down and literally de-stressing you, taking you out of your head and back into a calmer body.
To conclude, headaches are a pain, but together we can do something about it! With your help we can find those trigger points and release them, so you could be out of pain in less than a month. I always give some self-care exercises so you can manage your headaches from home, as well as some trigger points you can easily treat yourself with.
For this month, my special offer is the FIX IN SIX SERIES! Get six massages for the price of five, to be used within 6 months.
I LOVE getting people out of pain and working together with someone to do it, so I hope to see you in the treatment room soon.