People who suffer migraines know the pain of the condition: the lost work days, the sensitivity to light, the nausea and vomiting, the inability to think clearly, the splitting headache, visual disturbances, even mood swings that can be caused. For many, these last from hours to even days, and while there is a host of traditional therapies, including drugs like Imitrex, some people are not candidates due to heart problems or they simply don’t like taking prescription medications.
For these people, there is good news on the horizon: massage might actually help with migraines. As with most alternative medicine, there will always be people who are reluctant to try it, but some people are so debilitated they will try anything to get rid of migraines.
Zoe Soane can’t remember a time that she didn’t suffer from migraines.
“I’ve had migraines since I was 13, it would be hard to summarize the incapacitating effect of them. I couldn’t look at magazine print, too small, I couldn’t look at a computer screen, too bright, the glare off a windshield or something in an instant I would have a migraine. I was in bed with an episode of spinning, and I thought I’m going to three more appointments and then I’m going to kill myself. And then I caught myself and thought, that’s extreme but I thought I was a burden to my husband.”
With many triggers for migraine, it’s important to distinguish what causes them. It could be light, perfume, allergies, food, alcohol, or even stress.
But, if eliminating these does not work, massage therapy can be a wonderful adjunct, or used alone, to fight migraine headache. Soane was referred a physical therapist for a neck issue, but quickly found the treatment could double as a way to give her some migraine relief through a simple head massage.
Physiologically, this makes sense as it may reduce constriction and dilation of blood vessels in the head, often believed to be the cause of migraine headaches. Soane says the massage has truly changed her life.
“Initially, he was pressing on my head lightly, and I felt worse and that actually to me was reassuring because I thought if he can make this happen because he’s inside of the control box.”
Other patients have reported amazing results as well from physiotherapy, in conjunction with or without other therapies.
Readers, what are your experiences with migraines? Have you ever used massage to treat them?