Natural Remedies for Tension Headaches
You’ve had the kind of day when everything seemed to go wrong. It’s no wonder by late afternoon you’re feeling a rising pain in the back of your neck and a band tightening across your head. These symptoms are the telltale signs of a tension headache coming on. Well, you’re not alone.
Seventy-eight percent of the American population also experiences these painful episodes. They can last for hours, even days. Now a new study points to a simple and pleasant remedy to relieve your agony: a massage.
Researchers at the University of Granada -- in collaboration with the Clinical Hospital San Cecilio and the University Rey Juan Carlos -- have shown that the physiological state of patients with tension headaches improved after receiving a 30-minute massage on trigger points on the neck. The study also showed that patients’ stress and anxiety were reduced. The results of the study were published in American Journal of Manipulative Physiological and Therapeutics.
Although medical experts aren’t exactly sure why we get tension headaches, research suggests they’re caused by changes in brain chemicals (neurotransmitters, including serotonin), similar to what happens with a migraine. Scientists don’t know why the levels of neurotransmitters go up and down, but they tight muscles may help trigger the changes in neurotransmitters, or that muscle tightness may be a result of fluctuating levels of brain chemicals.