Although massage is often used to relieve headaches, circumstances arise when, after a massage, you can get a headache or feel exhausted. Serious massage side effects are uncommon, and a headache after a massage is usually mild and brief.
This article will walk you through, possible causes of a headache after a massage, tips to avoid headaches after a massage, and when to pass up on a massage.
Are you experiencing pain during your massage?
It has been shown that massage reduces stress and encourages relaxation. It can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which reduces the blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones during a massage.
Massage therapists usually use a variety of techniques to control your muscles and soft tissues. Also, it is not rare to walk out after a session with mildly sore muscles, particularly during deep tissue massage. A common belief is that massage will cause headaches by removing chemicals from muscle tissue to the bloodstream. However, there is no research supporting this belief.
But it’s accurate that during or after a treatment, most people experience headaches. Below are possible ways of how one gets a headache during or after a massage.
Possibles ways to get a headache after a massage
Inappropriate head positioning during the massage
Inappropriate head positions could cause you pain and discomfort if your therapist does not align your neck and shoulders properly. You probably had the experience of falling asleep and waking up in pain in an awkward position. On a massage table, the same thing can happen, and voila, you have a headache after a massage.
Changes in blood flow
Your blood vessels can constrict and relax during a massage. Blood flow fluctuations can cause a headache.
Having a massage can trigger a headache of dehydration, according to massage therapist “Casey Holliman”.
Your muscles will become looser during a massage as the pressure is applied by your therapist, the blood flow to the area increases. Consequently, metabolic waste previously trapped in the muscle is free through the lymphatic system to leave the body.
The release of metabolic wastes prompts the kidneys to work harder, which means they use more water than usual. Your body draws water from your bloodstream to facilitate this process. Consequently, you may get dehydrated, which may cause you a headache and an overwhelming sense of thirst.
You may come into contact with a lot of chemicals and fragrances when you get a massage that can cause a headache. Massage therapists often use scented oils or in the space that have scented candles or other fragrances that can give you an allergic reaction.
Many unscented lotions contain botanical additives that, in some instances, can induce sensitivity. Furthermore, you may find that you have a reaction on the table and sheets to the cleaning products or detergent used.
Sinus headaches are a common allergic reaction. Usually, this pain is situated above the cavities of the sinus. It is identified as facial pain behind the cheekbones or forehead.
It is safe to recognize and prevent the allergens that trigger them if you have such headaches.
The pressure used can lead to headache after a massage
The massage therapist focuses on deep muscle and fascia layers during a deep tissue massage. Deep tissue massage often involves a lot of pressure and can be quite painful if your therapist presses hard into tight or knotted muscle areas. Deep strokes or small circular gestures can suffice.
A small study found that moderate-pressure massages more than low-pressure massages stimulated the parasympathetic nervous system. Activating the parasympathetic nervous system may affect blood pressure, which may affect headaches in turn.
11 Tips to help prevent a headache after a massage
To prevent a headache after a massage, you can employ these tips:
- Discuss your concerns with your massage therapist.
- During the treatment, speak up. For instance, if it’s a reasonable amount of pressure and if it’s too much, give feedback.
- Don’t do deep tissue massages
- Be very clear about your desired level of pressure.
- Do not massage the whole body and instead book a face, foot, or hand massage.
- Before and after your massage, drink at least 8 ounces of water.
- Increase your intake of water for two days after a massage.
- The night before and the night before your massage, avoid drinking alcohol.
- After your massage, have a light snack.
- Tell the therapist to prescribe a few good stretches after the treatment.
- After your massage, take a warm or cool shower.
“Massage therapies” rarely cause severe harm, and you should easily begin to feel better. If, after a couple of hours, the headache doesn’t go away or is severe, please consult a doctor.
When to pass on a Massage
There are times where, despite the many benefits of massage, it is better to skip it. Here are some instances when you should skip a massage.
- You should not have a massage when you wounded.
- There should be no massage that places pressure on a wound, such as bruises, swelling parts of the body, hernias, or fresh fractures.
- You should not have a massage if you have the flu.
- You are at risk of spreading the infection to your massage therapist and other patients if you are battling a cold or flu. You also need rest to recover fully, and your system can be over-stimulated by massage.
- Don’t get a massage if you’re intoxicated. You may ignore the signs of discomfort from the body and wind up injured from a massage.
Categories of individuals who should avoid massages
There are many types of massage, some of which may not be appropriate for people with certain conditions of health. For example, “deep tissue massage” should be avoided by individuals with osteoporosis and pregnant women.
Individuals with blood clots may also want to avoid massage of the deep tissue as it can dislodge clots that can cause a stroke.
If you have had operations, radiation, or any other medical procedure, or if you have a known medical disorder. Before you get a massage, consult your doctor to determine if a massage is safe for you before you try it.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What does massage do to the body?
Massage reduces stress and encourages relaxation. It can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones.
What are the possible ways one could have a headache after a massage?
The possible ways one could have a headache after a massage are; Inappropriate head positioning during the massage, dehydration, allergic reactions, changes in blood flow, etc
How can you prevent a headache after a massage?
You can prevent a headache after a massage by being very clear about your desired level of pressure and avoiding deep tissue massages.
What categories of individuals should avoid deep tissue massages?
Pregnant women and individuals with osteoporosis should avoid massages, also individuals with blood clot issues.