Other than migraines, most people probably couldn’t identify the more than 150 distinct types of headaches. Some are primary headaches, which means they’re a condition in and of themselves, and others are secondary headaches, the types that occur as a symptom of a different medical condition. But one thing’s for sure — they all cause pain, and if they keep coming back, they can disrupt your life.

Not on our watch. Dr. Dana Robinson and our team at Peninsula RSI Chiropractic Wellness Center in Redwood City, California, pride ourselves on our ability to help headache sufferers break free from the cycle of pain, and one of our most effective treatments is massage therapy. Here’s what you need to know.

What type of headaches can massage therapy treat?

Massage therapy is an evidence-based treatment where Dr. Robinson uses her hands to apply pressure and release muscle tension to reduce inflammation, improve range of motion, and relieve many types of pain, including headache pain. Here are some of the headache types that massage therapy addresses.

Tension headaches

One of the most common types of primary headaches, tension headaches can range from mild to moderate, are typically felt on both sides of your head, and often respond well to over-the-counter pain relievers.

When they don’t, or when they keep recurring, Dr. Robinson may recommend massage therapy to ease the tension from your head, neck, and shoulders. Regular sessions can relax chronically tight muscles and make them more flexible, which alleviates the tension causing your headaches.


Migraines are another primary headache, and the cause is unknown. If you suffer from migraine headaches — the type that hits you with throbbing pain that lasts for hours or days, makes you nauseous and sensitive to light and sound, and leaves you feeling wasted — it may be possible to learn what triggers yours.

Triggers are from different causes. While we can’t say for sure why you have the condition of migraine, we can identify some of the triggers that set off your symptoms. Dr. Robinson helps you narrow down the culprits so you can avoid them when possible.

A common migraine trigger is stress, which in turn, generates tension. Massage therapy targets tight muscles and coaxes them into releasing their grip before they can trigger a migraine.

Vascular headaches

Some types of chronic headaches stem from problems in your circulatory system. Migraines are a type of vascular headache, but there are others including cluster headaches and high blood pressure headaches.

Dr. Robinson expertly rubs, stretches, and cajoles your underlying muscles and other soft tissues to relax and allow your blood to flow more efficiently through your veins. By increasing the amount of oxygen-rich blood coursing through your body, massage therapy may also improve your blood pressure numbers, your lymph system, and your heart rate.

Sinus headaches

If you have allergies or frequent upper respiratory infections, you’re no stranger to sinus headaches. Nasal congestion causes facial pain and headaches to boot. Since your sinuses are a labyrinth of canals that sit just behind your eyes, nose, and cheeks, it’s common to feel pain in these areas when they get clogged.

While most people associate massage with the back, neck, and shoulders, sinus massages focus on your forehead, cheeks, and skull. Dr. Robinson gently rubs and strokes these areas, which promotes drainage and relieves pressure.

What else can massage therapy do?

In addition to treating your chronic headaches, massage therapy can ease symptoms from a variety of health conditions, such as arthritis, sprains and strains, fibromyalgia, and sports injuries.

If you schedule regular massage therapy sessions, you can expect a long list of perks that may improve your quality of life as well, including:

  • Level moods
  • Anger management
  • Fewer anxiety or panic attacks
  • Improved depression symptoms
  • Decreased tension
  • Less back and neck pain
  • Better posture
  • Better range of motion
  • Better flexibility

Dr. Robinson is highly experienced and well trained in the art and science of all types of massage, including Swedish, deep tissue, trigger point, and sports massage, and she applies the technique that best suits your symptoms.

If you have frequent headaches, do yourself a favor and schedule an appointment to see Dr. Robinson, and find out if massage therapy can kick your headaches to the curb. Call us today or request a visit online.

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