Sports Massage and Dry Needling for Tension Headaches and Migraines

Oct 27, 2022

What are tension headaches and the causes of tension headaches? 

Tension-type headache (TTH) are a heavy burden on the global population, unfortunately they remain misunderstood and poorly managed.  This is however the most common type of primary headache, it is the least researched of the primary headache disorders, despite the fact it has the highest impact on the global population.  

Headaches and migraines are often caused by muscle tension in the neck and shoulders, which can easily be treated with physiotherapy, sports massage, dry needling and targeted exercises.  

Common symptoms of tension headaches include the following:

  • Pain on both sides of your head, face or neck
  • Feeling like something is pressing on your head or being tightened around it
  • The affected area may feel tender, and it may feel more tender or hurt when touched

Common causes of tension headaches can include:

  • Stress
  • Sleep problems 
  • Caffeine  
  • Posture
  • Other lifestyle factors such as sitting at a desk or driving 

What happens is that due to holding tension in the shoulders and neck the muscles get very tight and potentially constrict the nerves and blood supply that travels through the vessels to the head.

When muscles around the head and neck tighten, this creates tight points in the muscles known as “trigger points”. These are a very sensitive area within the muscle belly, which is painful when pressed on, these are generally referred to as a knot. 

The most common muscles that contribute to headaches include the upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, levator scapulae, temporalis and masseter. The jaw and shoulders not just the head can cause migraines and tension headaches.

What can we do to help? 

Sports Massage

After an initial assessment a targeted sports massage will help to reduce the tension and improve blood flow to the muscles, working to reduce the “trigger points” within the muscle, allowing you to feel more like yourself and living your life.  

Dry Needling 

Dry Needling involves the insertion of fine needles into the “trigger points” within the muscle tissue to decrease the tension in these muscles.  Dry needling triggers a “twitch” response which releases the tension in the muscles allowing you to feel better and move freely. 

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