Can massage help headaches?

Most people get headaches occasionally and some people get them frequently.  They are annoying, distracting, and can even prevent us from doing what we want to do.

Stress and muscle tension are two common causes of headaches.  Fortunately those are two things massage is great at helping with.


Everybody has some stress to deal with in life.  Work, family, friends, projects, home, school, and outside activities all clamor for our time and attention.  We are told to multi-task and get more done.  Life can get hectic on it’s own, but when some unexpected problem or even an emergency appears pressure rises to a whole new level.

Holding something of light weight isn’t much of a burden – but when you have to hold or carry it a long time it takes a toll.  Water heaters and other things under pressure have a safety valve to reduce the pressure if it gets too high.

Massage helps reduce your stress and the headache that developed from it.  You can let your body and mind rest for a while while you let somebody take care of you.  The slow strokes help to calm your anxious mind.  Your thoughts can slow down enough so you can sort them out and make sense of them.  When your mind is not so rushed and frantic the world around you feels like it has slowed down too.  Your problems don’t seem quite so big, you begin to see options for solutions, and the deadlines you face seem more manageable.

Massage gives you a chance to zone out and distance yourself from your problems for a while.  A new perspective can change the way you are looking at a situation and find a way to resolve it.

Massage provides a comforting touch in a world that can be harsh and demanding.  It gives you a bit of quiet in a noisy world.

Muscle tension

The first complaint I hear by far when people come in for a massage is neck pain, and often they have a headache also.  Many say they carry their stress in their neck.  Since I hear that so much I tend to spend more time working to get your neck to feel better.

Some of your neck muscles attach to the base of the skull in back.  When those neck muscles get tight they pull on the muscles and tendons on your head, causing it to feel squeezed which results in a headache.  When your neck muscles are looser they let up on your head muscles and your headaches gets better or even goes away.

Poor posture or maintaining the same posture while driving and work at your computer can make your neck start to get stiff.  Although it may not seem like much, being in the same position for many hours a day over months and years takes a toll on your neck.  Don’t forget about your posture at home while you are using your phone, laptop, or tablet also.  It’s easy to spend more time than you planned once you find a funny video or five to watch.

A headache from a stiff neck makes it hard to concentrate and get done what you need.  You just don’t feel good so you don’t want to do as much and are less active.

Massage can relieve that muscle tension to help your head to stop hurting.  When you feel better you are happier and get more done.  You don’t feel limited by pain.  Massage helps those muscles return to their natural position so they can function as they are intended.

When you have a headache due to stress or a stiff neck, get a massage.  It feels great – much better than swallowing a pill.  Massage addresses the real problem to help you feel better, and not just the symptom a pill does.  Don’t let a headache stop you from living the life you want when a massage can help.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at

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