Posts Tagged ‘Stress-Related Headaches’

Massage Can Reduce Migraine Headaches

November 20, 2008

occipital-nerveA new study published last year shows the massage can reduce migraine headaches. The article is titled “Massaging Over the Greater Occipital Nerve Reduces the Intensity of Migraine Headaches.” (1) Good news for you….massage feels great and can help you relieve pain!

To better understand how massage can help your migraines, let’s have a simple anatomy lesson. I am assuming you don’t know where the greater occipital nerve is. And since random rubbing hasn’t proven to be effective for migraines, you probably will want to know where to massage or be massaged.

The Greater Occipital Nerve (GON) runs through the middle of the Suboccipital Triangle- four small muscles on either side of the upper neck. The GON innervates the scalp and areas over the ears. When our neck muscles get tight, epecially our occipital muscles (think base of the skull), irritation of the GON occurs. And you know what that means…a headache!

Tight muscles and nerve irritation can make even the happiest person miserable. The benefits of massage are unmistakable- muscle relaxation, increased blood flow, and stress-reduction. Now you can add headache relief to one of its many benefits.

massage-item-neckSelf-Massage or Partner Massage
1. Start massaging the neck and shoulders
2. Work your way up to the base of your neck (where the GON starts). Focus on any areas that are painful and tight. Many headache suffers have knots in their muscles, called trigger points. If someone pushes and holds a trigger point, you will feel the pain shoot up the head and recreate the headache. That’s the spot that should be relaxed with massage.
3. Finish up by massaging the scalp where the GON nerve endings are located.

To learn more about headache help or to book an appointment for a professional therapeutic massage and treatment, visit

(1) Piovesan, et al. Massaging Over the Greater Occipital Nerve Reduces the Intensity of Migraine Headaches. Arq Neuropsiquiatr 2007;65(3-A):599-604.* Full free article-


Stress Headaches

November 11, 2008

migraine-headache_1_1Stress headaches, or tension-type headaches, are the most common type of headache.  Surprisingly, as up to 78% of the general population will experience at tension-type headaches at some time during their lifetime.

Am I having a stress headache? Stress headaches are often the result of temporary stress, anxiety, fatigue or anger. Symptoms include a tight, band-like sensation around your head and spasms of the neck muscles and shoulders. Many stress headaches suffers experience pain and tightness just above the ears and at your temples.  Many times people experience temporary relief or exacerbation of their headaches when they press on certain points in their neck.

I heard stress headaches can occur every day. Some stress headache suffers have chronic tension-type headaches that can occur every day. A chronic tension-type headache is a condition where you have a stress headache on 15 days or greater every month. This type of headache is also called a chronic daily headache because many people have a headache every day.

When would I see my chiropractor for a stress headache instead of taking over-the-counter medications? I suggest if you are experiencing more than two stress headaches a week, you should visit your chiropractor.  Taking anti-inflammatories on a regular basis to eliminate headaches is masking the root of your problem: tight neck muscles, stress, and joint restrictions or misalignment can cause and aggravate your headaches.

Why do you treat stress headaches? Tension-type headaches are one of my specialties (and secretly, one of my favorite conditions to treat) because I personally suffer from them.  As a student in Chiropractic College I began experimenting with different techniques we were learning to treat my headaches.  After trying different treatments and practicing on patients and friends for months, a friend of mine showed me some soft tissue techniques he learned at his myofascial release seminar.  My headache was gone after his treatment when combined with spinal manipulation.  So, I kept trying it on everyone I could, and the treatment was helping more and more people.

How do you treat stress headaches in your practice, Dr. Funk? I use a combination of soft-tissue techniques (similar to massage), spinal manipulation, stretching, and simple strengthening exercises. Each patient has a 30-minute treatment that is relaxing and therapeutic.

Welcome to Tranquility Chiropractic Studio’s Blog!

August 23, 2008

Each post will provide the latest tips, techniques, and articles to help you relieve the effects of stress including: stress-related headaches, neck, and shoulder pain. Now the power to relax, soothe tired muscles, reduce stress-related headaches, and eliminate neck and shoulder pain is in your hands!

The founder of Tranquility Chiropractic Studio, Dr. Misty Funk, created a comprehensive clinic where patients could get treatment for stress-related conditions. As a complement to her clinic, Dr. Funk wants to offer education and motivation to relax in this stressful world we live in.

Dr. Funk is working everyday to take a little stress out of your world!