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Question: Is there a self-massage technique or yoga pose I can do to shake off a headache?

Asked by kam17 5 years ago

23 answers

Is there a self-massage technique or yoga pose I can do to shake off a headache? What to do when aspirin, a nap and a fresh air walk is not helping?

Yoga, Indian Head Massage, Therapeutic Massage

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ShantiShanti 5 years ago


Understanding what's causing your headache will help identify the best approach to dealing with it.

1. The majority of headaches (some reports put the figure at 75%) stem from bad posture - caused muscle tension which then resurfaces as pain/ache in one or more parts in the head:
-most headaches arise from muscle tension in the back of the neck, specifically the semispinalis capitis muscles
-a clue to whether this might apply to you is to see if your shoulders are rounded, and if you find your thoracic spine and head are slightly slumped forward (particularly common among those working for long hours at a computer). This creates tension in the neck muscles and because the muscles of the neck and upper back connect to the head, tension in the neck can be referred to the forehead and behind the eyes, causing headaches.

Treatment: seek out a specialist or yoga teacher with experience and strong knowledge of postural alignment to get an assessment of your posture; or you can even perhaps fathom youself if poor posture applies to you, just by looking at how you sit, sleep (neck position) and stand; a regular practise of Yoga such as Iyengar Yoga should greatly help prevent and alleviate symptoms of a tension headache

2. Headaches caused by poor breathing
- headache sufferers often have upper respiratory, shallow breathing. They may also be unconsciously hyperventilating

Treatment: Yogic breathing exercises - or "Pranayama" (breath control) can be very helpful in reducing headaches relating to shallow breathing. There are many pranayamas that are appropriate for people experiencing different headaches. Each pranayama is adapted to the individual headache sufferer. The first step is simply observing and noting the breath, letting go, being still, and becoming aware of your inahle and exhale.
Another pranayama that is often recommended for chronically tense people is Nadi Sodhana, or alternate nostril breathing. A good Yoga teacher will be able to advise and show you breathing techniques which are most appropriate for you.

3. Emotional stress
-Many (though not all headaches) are the result of acute stress.
-Tension relating to emotional issues (or, even, physical fatigue that leads to emotional vulnerablity) often leads to the development of muscular tension, particularly in the head, neck, back, and sometimes the eyes. Without sufficient deep and appropriate emotional release, headaches will persist.

Treatment: approaching the condition at its "emotional" core. Regular yoga (a yoga practise that does not bring on more physical stress), regular (daily) Pranayam, and therapeutic massage, along with addressing the psychological state through psychotherapy, would be an advisable route to alleviating persistent bodily tension, including headaches.

4. Sugar levels
-Low or fluctuating sugar levels in the blood can also contribute to the onset of a headache
(accompanied by nausea, fatigue)
Treatment: an energy drink (ideally one which contains only 'naturally' sourced sugars), fresh fruit, a good wholesome carb-rich snack (such as a wholemeal muffin or bun)

For immediate relief, try:
-drinking lots of water, massaging the temples, taking a long hot bath infused with essential oils such as orange, juniper and ylang ylang.

Best wishes,

Sources: http://www.yogawithdivya.co.uk

Other answers (22)

CatherineAnnis 5 years ago

For self massage, try pressing the hegu point between your thumb and index finger. It's high up in the crook of the joint, and usually feels quite tender. Press hard and hold for a few moments. You can also work the points between your toes, and along the outer edge of your cheekbones, towards the temples,. Try pinching your eyebrows and squeezing your fingers together, and pressing firmly into the inside arch of your eye socket, just underneath the eyebrow, inwards towards the nose. These points may help.
For a yoga fix, you could try gently rolling into halasana and easing out the tight muscles at the back of your neck. However, please do not do this if you have any neck issues, or high blood pressure.
Headaches may also be the result of dehydration, so have a big drink of water, and try to slow down and take some rest. Close your eyes, and raise the feet on a cushion, cover yourself with a blanket and rest quietly for 10 minutes or more, allowing your thoughts and consciousness to fall into the back of your skull.
I hope this helps.

Sources: http://www.relaxandrelease.co.uk/

Tyran 5 years ago

If this is a tension headache, massaging the temples gently may help. The same is true of gently massaging the back of the neck. Do either lying on your back, taking all the tension off of your neck. Also, vigorously rubbing the hands together until they become hot and covering your closed eyes and face with the entire palm of each hand is very calming and will help reduce a tension headache.

Here is what I do to relieve a headache—this works best if someone is asking you to do each of these:
Close the eyes
Now feel the headache and become interested in it, do not fight it.
Describe where the headache is, like "Behind the eyes."
Next, describe how big it is. I simply hold my hands up and move them further or closer together to show the size.
Now say what color the headache is.
Repeat (eyes remain closed the entire time).

Tension headaches will be relieved by this technique very quickly (usually less than 5 minutes). Migraines will usually lessen but not be relieved entirely. Migraines also tend to return as their cause is more complicated than simple tension.

Tension headaches can be readily prevented by daily sadhana. Sadhana means not only practicing yoga postures but also giving time for pranayama and meditation. Also practice pranayam, specifically Complete Breath as often as you can through the day. This is will dramatically lessen the tension you experience from daily stresses and, in turn, lessen tension headaches.

If you suffer from frequent headaches over a prolonged period of time and you are drinking plenty of water (dehydration does cause headache as CatherineAnnis mentioned), this may be a symptom of some other issue in the body and should consider consulting a physician.

While the same advice applies generally to migraines, the impact will not be the same. Reduction of tension from stress will likely lessen the frequency of migraines and may even lessen the severity, only rarely will yoga alone prevent migraines as migraines seem to have multiple causes which are not tension related. Some find that altering their diets is very beneficial and others find that no matter what they do, the migraines continue. Regardless, if you are suffering migraines, I would strongly recommend consulting with your physician.

Suzanne 5 years ago

I am not a yoga teacher, but any massage that includes the shoulders, neck head and face should benefit you. Essential oils that could help are eucalyptus, lavender, melissa, neroli & rosemary? It would be a good idea to try and find the root cause of the headache and you can then have a bespoke blend of aromatherapy oils made for you, treating both the cause and the symptom?
Look at any food triggers and incorporate general relaxation techniques into your lifestyle. A pressure point I often use on myself is inside the roof of the mouth. I press with the thumb for several seconds and it often gives instant relief. For tension in the upper back, to help with circulation, after a back, neck & shoulder massage I apply a hot towel and then finish with a circulation gel, which gives a hot and cold sensation and greatly improves the circulation.
Good luck Suzanne

Sources: http://www.beautybusiness.com

JustineYogaWirral 5 years ago

Personally, if I get a headache it tends to be in the sinus area, especially at the start of my eyebrow. If this applies to you then a pranayama technique called Nadi Sodhana might help.

Using your right hand, close your right nostril with your right thumb.
Breathe in through the left nostril.
Close the left nostril with the first or third and fourth fingers, breathe out through the right.
Breathe in through the right nostril.
Close right nostril with the right thumb, open left nostril and breathe out.
This completes one round of the practise - always starting and finishing on the left side.

Try to consciously allow the breath to slow down.

Nadi Sodhana helps to harmonise the funcitoning of the nervous system. Each nostril has nerve endings corresponding to the sympathetic (stimulating) and parasympathetic (calming) nervous systems. Breathing through alternate nostrils (NB this technique is also known as Alternate Nostril Breathing) helps create balance energetically.

This practise also forces the two hemispheres of the brain to communicate across the corpus callosum more effectively. If you suffer from stress headaches, the action of engaging the left and right hemispheres can reverse the effects of stress (which engages the more reactive/aggressive back brain).

Some people also attach affirmations to this technique, for example by imagining breathing in positive qualities such as calmness, peace, health, wellbeing and breathing out tension, disease, headache etc.

This cannot be done if you have any sort of congestion but the act of thinking in this pattern can create a similar effect and is known as psychic alternate nostril breathing. Just imagining you are breathing through one side of the nose actually creates electrical impulses in that region!

A headache is a sign of stuck energy so a good yoga class can help circulate this energy or 'prana' as it is known in yoga.

CMT-Bruce 5 years ago

I normally massage the spot bewteen my thumb and pointer finger, that seems to release the tention and releive my headache.

MTDeborah 5 years ago

The Reflexology points between your thumb and 1st finger and between the big toe and the toe next to it when massaged can help in releasing you from the grip of a headache. Also gently massaging the bony protrusion at the base of the back of your head will help release tension that may be causing your headache.

DanielleSwagart 5 years ago

Trying hit your temples, it really helps

Salma 5 years ago

Hi there :o) Yes there is! It first depends where the pain is located? Normally headaches can manifest as tension headaches, migraines,food we consume and so forth. Have you tried Yoga before? If this is your first time, then it is better that you get the right guidance from a trained Yoga Practioner, as doing the positions wrong can do more harm than good. If you are already with Yoga then the Yoga position which I find fab for tension neck, occipital, and head area is as follows: make sure you have warmed up your body muscles sufficiently, lie on your back (as relaxed as possible) and stretch your head back so that the crown of your head is making contact with the floor, but please, ONLY STRETCH as far as your body perimits. In that position, gently lift your hand in a "prayer stance" above your upper torso area! I have I have explained that properly?

Drink plenty of water to hydrate the body and flush out toxins! You can use a massage techique called 'circular thumb frictions" which means you use your fingers and thumbs and gently massage the tensions areas...which is soothing! Hope this has been helpful! X

BellbrookMassageTherapy 5 years ago

You can apply finger point pressure to the origin of pain for 10 to 20 seconds & release. The technique interupts blood flow and then it surges to help eliminate toxins or increase endorphins (natural pain killers). There are reflexes on the hands & feet that refer to the head which you can apply the same type of point pressure to. You can google and find a reflexology chart to show you the area.

TherapyTakeaway 5 years ago

Hi Kam, I sure hope your headache has subsided by now! Having a massage regularly if your feeling stressed out is always a help. Massaging the base of your skull is a good one if your doing it yourself. Try and take some time out and lie with your head on a pillow with a cold flannel over your forehead and eyes.
If you think it's more to do with your posture than being stressed out emotionally then Fitball is also good!! You will have to go regularly if your to learn proper posture.
Hope this Helps!

EmeryMassageandBodywork 5 years ago

Do you know what type of headache you have? Ice pack to the base of the skull will help, quite room, your upper back, neck and shoulders need some deep tissue work with warm moist heat before massage. You could try massaging your head using deep pressure, aromatherapy used in a spray if you are getting tension headaches, have you checked your blood pressure?

ClaudiaMiscinski 5 years ago

Massage can definitely help with headaches, especially tension headaches. Many headaches are caused by trigger points near your scapula. If the pain radiates from your back up to your head it could be a trigger point. A good deep tissue massage combined with relaxation should relieve tension that may be causing your headaches. I do not suggest much self-massage as it is difficult to perform and may only have nominal, temporary effects. You would be better off paying for a massage and having someone access what is happening and what may be causing the headaches.

Wirralbeautytherapist 5 years ago

put your legs up against a wall and roll up onto your shoulders so its a sort of shoulderstand position (make sure you are on a carperted/ soft floor!)

ChandraCastanza 5 years ago

Scalp Massage! Peppermint!! Pressure points on the face!

welshtherapist 5 years ago

Bowen Technique is usually very helpful in relieving headaches and migraine. Some Bowen therapists also teach a self-help method to clients to enable them to perform a short sequence of movements that will usually reduce a headache or aim to stop a migraine from developing.
It is not possible to describe on the website - it really needs a therapist to demonstrate and then to check that the client is carrying it out in the right spot on the lower back and shoulder..
I would advise that you ask your Bowen Therapist if they know this procedure - as not every therapist will be familiar with it.
Kind regards

Sources: http://www.everybodysbetter.co.uk

BrianaAustin 5 years ago

you want to drink water. massage the temples on either side of you head. and take your pointer finger of both your hands and start at your eyebrows and spread. drag your finger like spread them apart on your forhead. that lets off some pressure to. start at your eye brows and move to the top of your hair line then go back down to your eye brows again. that should help.

GemsOfYogaDubai 5 years ago

Hello, to remove headche, you can sit with back straight, eyes closed, teeth together & make he humming sound of the bee loudly till you can feel the vibration in your head region, this is called brahamri breath.

gemsofyoga 4 years ago

Brhamri Pranayam will help to relieve it.

DallasOncologyMassage 5 years ago

I have not learned any self-massage techniques for headaches. Yoga is not an area of my expertise.

Jim-Zlotnick 5 years ago

There are a few accupressure points that you can use. The two most effective are LI4 and GB20. This is a good website that shows you where they are http://www.chinese-holistic-health-exercises.com/acupressure-for-relieving-headaches.html, also you have two points one on the edge of your eyebrow near the nose and then right in between the eyebrows called GV24.5. You may also want to rub your temple region. Find the soft muscle area that may be tender then rub that a well. Rub these areas for 2-3 minutes and I hope that it can help you.

Oakynleaf 5 years ago

The only ethical response is to suggest you should consult your physician. Headaches can have many causes and a massage therapist has no business telling you to try anything without the recommendations of your doctor.

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