massage self care

Headache Types & How To Relieve Pain

The throbbing pain of a headache can be so debilitating. Headaches can occur for a variety of reasons so let’s explore the different types of headaches, how to prevent them, and how massage therapy can help relieve them.

Types of headaches

There are several different types of headaches, including tension headaches, migraines, cluster headaches, sinus headaches, and rebound headaches. Each type of headache has its own unique set of symptoms and causes.

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, and they typically result from stress, anxiety, or muscle tension in the neck and head. Symptoms of tension headaches include a dull, aching pain in the forehead, temples, or back of the head.

Migraines, on the other hand, are more severe and can be debilitating. They are characterized by a pulsing or throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and vomiting.

Cluster headaches are less common than tension headaches or migraines, but they are more severe. They are characterized by a severe, sharp pain on one side of the head that comes and goes in cycles.

Sinus headaches result from an infection or inflammation in the sinuses. They are characterized by a deep, constant pain in the forehead, cheekbones, or bridge of the nose.

Rebound headaches are caused by overuse of pain medication. They are characterized by a dull, constant headache that persists even when pain medication is taken.

How to prevent headaches

Preventing headaches is often easier said than done, but there are several things you can do to reduce your risk of getting a headache. Here are a few tips:

  1. Manage stress: Since tension headaches often result from stress, it’s important to find ways to manage stress. This could include exercise, meditation, or taking breaks throughout the day to stretch and relax.
  2. Stay hydrated: Dehydration can cause headaches, so make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  3. Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can trigger headaches, so it’s important to get enough sleep each night.
  4. Maintain good posture: Poor posture can contribute to tension headaches, so make sure to sit and stand up straight throughout the day.
  5. Avoid triggers: Certain foods, like chocolate and cheese, as well as environmental factors, like bright lights or loud noises, can trigger headaches. Pay attention to your own triggers and try to avoid them when possible.

Massage can help relieve headaches

Massage therapy is a natural and effective way to relieve headache pain. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that massage therapy was effective in reducing the frequency and severity of tension headaches.

Massage therapy works by releasing tension in the muscles, increasing circulation, and promoting relaxation. By doing so, it can reduce the severity and duration of headaches.

There are several different types of massage that can be beneficial for headache relief, including Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and trigger point therapy. Each type of massage has its own unique benefits and techniques, so it’s important to find a massage therapist who specializes in headache relief and can recommend the best type of massage for your specific needs.

Massage therapy is a natural and effective way to relieve headache pain and reduce the frequency and severity of headaches. By incorporating regular massage into your healthcare routine, you can enjoy a life with fewer headaches and more pain-free days.


  • Chaibi, A., Journal¬†of Manual and¬†Manipulative Therapy. 2013; 21(2):113-124.