Category Archives: Headaches

You Don’t Have to Hurt! Take Control of Your Pain

At least once a week I hear things like “I hurt because I’m old”, “I hurt because of my physical job”, “I hurt because I play (insert sport here)”, “I hurt because I sit at a desk or drive a car all day”.   Does this sound like you or someone you know?

Most everyone suffers minor and sometimes major aches and pains from work, play, and life in general.  Overuse and small injuries from playing your favorite sports can cause painful trigger points, sitting all day at work often leads to neck, back, arm, and hand pain and tension headaches, as we age the years of overuse and postural problems can pile up causing pain and stiffness, and old injuries can come back to haunt us.

The real problem is that we accept pain as a trade-off for living, a punishment we must inevitably accept and maybe even wear as a badge of honor (we all know that person!).  It doesn’t have to be this way!   A likely culprit of your discomfort is tension in your muscles and connective tissues.   It doesn’t sound very menacing but plain old muscle tension can cause moderate to severe muscle and joint pain, sleeping problems, headaches, fatigue, and grumpiness.

The good news is that there are simple, non-pharmaceutical, and even pleasurable solutions!  Regular therapeutic massage, a bit of exercise, stretching, and some ergonomic tweaking can quickly get muscle tension and its symptoms under control.

The consequences for not taking control of your pain can be increased chance of injury, and more pain, sleeplessness, and grouchiness.  That’s no good for your or anyone around you.  You don’t have to live with the pain!  Take control and have a better life.

If you have questions about whether massage is right for you please feel free to contact me at 859-576-9409 or ablair@aliblairmassagetherapy.com.

Check Your Headaches

Sternocleidomastoid headache trigger points.

It would be a fortunate person who could go through life without suffering from a headache.  Everyone gets one occasionally and many suffer from them chronically.  A minor headache can be irritating enough to ruin your day and a serious one can be completely debilitating.  Here you can learn about the most common types of headaches, their causes, and how you can utilize massage as a drug-free alternative to prevent and manage them.  If you’re not interested in the whys and wherefores you can just scroll to the bottom to see how massage can help treat your headache.

Trapezius headache trigger points

Approximately 90% of all headaches are classified as tension-type headaches.  These are caused by musculoskeletal problems such as muscle tension, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, misalignment of the vertebrae of the neck, and irritation of the ligaments around the vertebrae of the neck.   About 7% are migraines, cluster, and sinus classified as vascular headaches.  Migraines and cluster headaches can have many different triggers such as bright lights, noise, medications, stress, and muscle tension.  Sinus headaches are often seasonal and accompany allergies or upper respiratory tract infections.  The pain felt by all of these types of headaches is thought to come from a cascade of neurotransmitters, the chemicals nerve cells in the brain use to communicate with each other as well as changes in blood flow that irritate the sensory nerves in the coverings of the brain.

For minor headaches most of you probably reach for an over the counter pain med like aspirin, naproxen or ibuprofen.  These drugs are classified as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs).  If your headaches are infrequent this isn’t a problem.  However, if you find yourself popping these pills frequently for headaches or any type of pain you may be headed for trouble.  NSAIDs can cause ulcers of the stomach, excessive bleeding, and liver or kidney failure.  There are much better and safer ways to manage most headaches than taking medications.