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Stretches and self massage for migraine headaches

combat headaches

Do you suffer from headaches, migraines or both?

Looking for a Natural migraine treatment or headache treatment that works? 

Excerpt from Dr. Karin Drummond's book:  
"Combat Headaches" 


HOW TO TREAT headaches by releasing TRIGGER AND PRESSURE POINTS IN THE NECK AND UPPER BACK

PRESSURE POINTS are points on the body that you press to relieve a symptom. Trigger points are tender muscle spasms that can put pressure on a nerve, leading to pain in another area of the body. 


Trigger Points in Your Neck and Shoulders that may relieve your headache

 You may find tender, bumpy spots at the base of your skull (suboccipitals; Figure 7-1), along the ropey muscles in the front of your neck (SCM, anterior scalenes; Figure 7-1), or along the posterior neck muscles or the upper back (trapezius muscle and levator scapulae muscles; Figure 7-2). When you find one of these spots, lightly press on it to see if it increases your head pain. If pressing on the spot increases your head pain, it is likely the cause of your head pain.

 Headache from trigger point migraine chiropractor

Figure 7‑1: Trigger points in the SCM and trapezius muscles

headache from trigger points in the trapezius

Figure 7‑2: More trigger points in the trapezius and levator scapulae muscles 

To treat these points, hold the pressure for three breaths. This helps squeeze out the metabolic waste trapped in the chronically contracted muscle. When you let go, new blood will flow into the muscle, bringing in nutrients and allowing the muscle to relax and take pressure off the nerve or blood vessels that are referring pain into your head. 

If the muscle is still tight and sore, you can repeat this up to three times, several times a day.  

You may experience immediate relief from your headache after working on such pressure points.  Sometimes, it may take a couple of days before you notice the improvement.

Again, if your headache is not responding to your treatment, or if it is worsening in any way, see your healthcare provider.  

Pressure Points Around the Eyes

 

headache pressure points around the eyes

You may find tender spots around the orbits of your eyes (Figure  to the left)

If you do, press on them for three breaths (Figure below), giving yourself a type of acupressure treatment for head pain. 

Headache pressure points near the eyes 

Pressure Points Along the Cheekbones 

Headache pressure points along cheeksCommon sinus pressure points are found along one's cheeks.

You may also find tender spots along your cheeks (Figure to the left).

If you do, press on them for three breaths (Figure below), giving yourself a type of acupressure treatment for head (sinus) pain. This also moves the cheekbones (zygomatic bone) away from the nasal bones just enough to allow the maxillary sinuses to drain.

Headache pressure points along cheek bonePressing on pressure points along the cheek bone

Trigger Points in the Mouth and Jaw Muscles

 You have muscles behind the jawbone that you can only touch by opening your mouth and sliding your finger behind the last of your molars until you feel soft tissue. These are the pterygoid muscles. They are very small, strong, and vital muscles. 

Pterygoid muscles are used every time you talk, chew, and swallow (typically thousands of times a day). Combine this with the fact that these muscles are typically never touched, let alone massaged, and you can see why these muscles are very sensitive to touch. Usually massaging these muscles results in the trigger of the tear reflex. 

Find a healthcare provider who is proficient in massaging pterygoid muscles to see if relaxing these muscles helps your headaches. If it does, have your healthcare provider show you how you can massage them yourself.

You can also massage the muscles on the outside of your jawbone (Figure 7-7) to see if it relieves your headache.

Headache pressure points in jaw Figure 7‑7: Jaw muscle that can cause headaches

These muscles on the edge of your jaw are called the masseter muscles. Massaging these muscles can also help alleviate a headache. Try simply rubbing the meaty part of the jaw to see if it helps your head pain.

If you find any tender spots along your jawbone, see if pressing on them for three breaths helps ease your head pain.

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To see a demonstration of a self-massage technique to work on trigger and pressure points on the neck, face, and head, visit my YouTube channel:

Pressure Points in the Hand and Wrist

You can also try pressing on tender spots in your hands to see if it helps your head pain. The spots shown in Figure 7-9 are considered by many to be headache pressure points. At worst, pressing on these points will help your hands feel better. 

pressure points for headaches in the handFigure 7‑9: Headache pressure points found in the hand

If any of these spots are tender, press and hold for three breaths, relax, and repeat up to three times. You can repeat every hour as needed. 

If you find other tender spots in your hand, work on them as well. If a spot is tender, it’s a sign that the tissue is not happy. Relieve the tenderness with the press-and-hold technique. This helps get the fluids flowing in your tissues, thereby facilitating their healing. Treating these pressure points may also help your headache.

Other spots that may alleviate your headache are on the palm and wrist (Figure 7-10). 

pressure points for headaches in the wristFigure 7‑10 : Pressure points to relieve headaches found in the wrist

I find the most common tender spot for headache suffers is in the web of the hand (the thenar eminence) between your thumb and forefinger (Figure 7-11).

Pressure points to relieve headaches found in the web of handFigure 7‑11: Pressure points to relieve headaches found in the web of the hand.

Pressure points to relieve headaches found in the web of handFigure 7‑11b: Pressing on this point may relieve your headache

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Pressure Points in the Foot

 Other common tender spots for headache suffers are on and at the base of the big toes (Figure 7-12). If these spots are tender on you, try pressing on them for three slow breaths (breathing out twice as long as you breathe in), and see if they get less tender. You can perform three repetitions of this at a time, but leave at least an hour between treatments. 

Figure 7‑11: Pressure points to relieve headaches found in the footFigure 7‑12: how the feet relate to headaches and neck pain

I have also found that releasing tension in the arch of the foot (Figure 7-13) often helps headache sufferers.

Pressure points to relieve headaches found in the footFigure 7‑13: Pressure points to relieve headaches found in the foot

A foot massage also never hurts. If anything, it will help alleviate your headache in addition to making you generally feel better. 

Pressure Points in the Lower Leg

This spot pictured in Figure 7-14 is the location of a headache pressure point in the lower leg.

Pressure points to relieve headaches found in the ankleFigure 7‑14: Pressure points to relieve headaches found in the ankle

Look for points around your ankles that are tender. Tenderness indicates lymphatic blockage or muscle tension and tells you that something needs to be worked out. Applying pressure here could also be a potential alleviator of headaches. 

Also try up higher on the leg. Feel the meaty part of the front lower leg, between the two long bones (the tibia and fibula; Figure 7-15), and see if you have tender spots there. If you do, press and hold for three breaths to see if this helps your headache.

Pressure points to relieve headaches found in the legFigure 7‑15: Pressure points to relieve headaches found in the lower leg

I find that it is better to do frequent, gentle cycles of pressure point therapy than to do intense pressure a few times a week. I teach my patients how to do the therapy themselves so their symptoms do not return between their sessions with me.  

You do not have to keep suffering!  Why Wait?

click here to schedule with the best chiropractor

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CRANIAL MASSAGE TECHNIQUES FOR HEAD PAIN

NOW LET’S LOOK AT how to mobilize the cranial bones to help alleviate any head pain that can be caused by rigidity of the suture lines of the skull. (Suture lines are the places where the bones of the skull meet.)  

Temporal Press to Mobilize the Sphenoid Bone

Temporal press to relieve headachesFigure 8‑1: Temporal press to relieve headaches

Bring your fingers to your temples (Figure 8-1) and press in with the right fingers, then press in with the left. This will wiggle the sphenoid bone (the bone outside of and behind your eyes) as well as release tension in the temporal muscle (which often helps tensions, sinus, and migraine headaches).

You can even try loosening the frontal bone (the bone that makes up your forehead) from the parietal bone (the bone that makes up the back of your skull) by pressing on the top of your head. 

Cranial Mobilization: Temporal and Zygomatic Press

 

Temporal press to relieve headachesFigure 8‑2: Cranial pressure to relieve headaches

Place your right hand on the front right skull bone (the temporalis bone) and your left hand on your cheekbone (the zygomatic bone, also known as the malar bone; Figure 8-2). Then press your hands toward each other; your right hand presses up and in while your left hand presses down and in. 

This mobilizes the bones that make up the front of your head (the zygomatic, maxillary, temporalis, and other skull bones). This technique often results in the drainage of maxillary and frontal sinuses. 

Cranial Press to Mobilize the Occipital Bone

Place your left hand at the base of your skull on the left side, turn to the right, tuck your chin in, and press back with your head (Figure 8-3). Press forward and up with your left hand to really lengthen the back of your neck. Repeat on the other side.

Occipital press to relieve headachesFigure 8-3: Occipital press to relieve headaches

Pressing against the back of your head not only stretches and strengthens the muscles in the back of your neck, but it also mobilizes the back skull bone (occipital bone).

This technique, when married with the temporal and zygomatic press (along with other cranial mobilization techniques), often helps relieve headaches (migraines specifically) induced by barometric pressure changes. A mobilized skull helps absorb the change of pressure, whereas a rigid skull results in the pressure change compressing the brain and its vessels.

(This cranial press is the same as the strong neck stretch in Chapter 9.)

Stretching the neck also helps relieve headaches. To learn how to stretch the neck, CLICK HERE.

You do not have to keep suffering!  Why Wait?

click here to schedule with the best chiropractor

to schedule with us today!


Drummond Chiropractic, LLC
Migraine Specialists
Headache Specialists
565 N Walnut St,
Bloomington, IN 47404
(812) 336-2423

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