Relieving Headaches Through Trigger Point Release
Sarah Hughes, Remedial Massage Therapist
I am sure most of you are familiar with the expressions, a “banging headache” or a “splitting headache”. Such terms are frequently used to describe the often-debilitating pain associated with headaches.
Headaches afflict approximately 4.9 million Australians and negatively impacts sufferers mental and physical well-being.
This blog provides a very brief account of the type of headaches, pain patterns and how trigger point release can provide relief.
What is a headache?
A headache can be described as ‘aching or pain in one or more areas of the head or neck’. However, the frequency, duration, location, and intensity of the pain varies depending on the type of headache.
What are the different types of headaches?
As outlined in the image below, there are a variety of different type of headaches. The most common headaches are often referred to as mechanical headaches (i.e. tension headaches) as they are associated with tight muscles located in the upper back, neck and head. Different headaches produce different pain patterns as outlined in the diagram below (red shading indicates pain location).
Consequently, the treatment of headaches needs to be tailored to the particular type of headache.
 Dr Jonathon Kuttner, Treatment of Tension Headache, Trigger Point Therapy, Neil Asher Healthcare, London, 2019; 6
. Ibid; 8.
Treatment through Trigger Point Release
Trigger points develop as a result of overstimulation of muscle spindles (small spiral shaped nerves located within muscles). Muscle spindles are necessary to facilitate movement as they coordinate the length and tension of the muscles. When a muscle spindle is overstimulated due to factors such as poor posture, emotional stress, injury etc… they take on a protection role and cause muscles to become tight (shortened). The constant contraction causes the muscle to weaken and become tender. This tenderness within muscle is due to the activation of trigger points which can result in localised pain but most importantly referred pain to other areas of the body.
In respect of treating headaches, the type of headache and location of pain determine which trigger points in which muscles have been activated. The treatment of these activated trigger points helps to release the muscle contractions and relieve the pain associated with headaches. Keeping trigger points inactive helps to prevent the reoccurrence of headaches.
I have completed an advanced learning program in treating headaches through trigger point release.
Book in for an assessment and tailored treatment plan with me today. Let me work with you to knock your headaches on the head!