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Massage is effective for tension headaches!

What is a tension headache? 

Tension headaches, are the most common kind of primary headaches. The pain can radiate from back, the neck, eyes, or other muscle groups in the body. Tension-type headaches account for nearly 90% of all headaches. Approximately 3% of population suffers from chronic-tension type headache. 
      
Tension-type headache pain is described as a constant pressure, as if the head were being squeezed in a vise. The pain is usually on both sides of the head at once. Tension head ache pain is usually mild to moderate but can be severe, unlike a migraine; the pain does not increase during exercise. 

 Tension type headaches are caused by sustained contraction of the muscles located in the head and the neck. The continuous contractions of the muscles result in local nutrient deficiency from the lack of blood flow to the area, this in turn may cause trigger points in the muscle. Trigger points are described as irritable spots in skeletal muscle associated with nodules felt in taut bands of muscle fiber. The nodules are said to be small contraction lumps, (knots), and are a common cause of pain. These areas remain involuntarily contracted without movement. Pain arising from tension in the neck can often be compared to any pain caused by coughing or sneezing.

Can Chronic Tension Headaches be relieved with Massage?   

Massage Therapy techniques are known to increase blood flow to tissue and reduce activity of trigger points. A study was conducted and published in the American Journal of Public Health reporting the results of a Massage Therapy Program and its beneficial effects on the number of tension headaches a patient received a week and the duration of these headaches. 


Individuals who were chosen for the study have had at least 2-3 headaches per week in the past 6 months based on the International Headache Society guidelines. 
      

During an 8 week study was conducted, of the first 4 weeks patient's headaches were documented and included the number of headaches and how long they lasted. Within The final 4 weeks a 6 phase massage therapy program was introduced with, 2 sessions a week for 30 minutes each. 

    Results 

        -The average number of headaches decreased from 6 to 2 per week 
        -The average duration of headaches decreased from 8 to 4.5 hours

The results of this study suggest that Massage Therapy is effective in reducing the number frequency and duration of headaches for chronic tension headache sufferers. Positive effects of the massage program were immediate, the number of headaches reduced by half in the first we
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