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Is massage therapy effective for migraines?

Hey folks,
I was diagnosed with chronic migraine in the previous year.
I'm working as a Quality Analyst. But now I'm considering to resign the job as I'm not able to concentrate on my work.
I spent most of my time at the bed, crying out of pain. So my partner took over just about all our household duties.
I'm worried that I could never get back to normal life. Yesterday I visited my family doctor, and he recommended starting
massage therapy in Toronto will help to get some relief from pain.
I've never tried massage therapy, so it's natural to have some confusion before deciding to go ahead.
Is massage therapy effective? How long should we continue the treatment?

  1. Hello Latoyia, thank you for reaching out! I hear how much you have been struggling since being diagnosed with chronic migraine. It is so hard when you cannot function in the way you once could due to the impact of migraine on your life. As all bodies are unique, you will receive different responses to the question of whether massage therapy is effective. For some bodies it is a treatment that does provide relief, for others it does not. Many members of the community have shared that even if it does not significant reduce the migraine symptoms it can help with stress and muscle tension. I thought these articles might be of interest to you:
    https://migraine.com/complimentary-and-alternative-therapies/massage/
    https://migraine.com/blog/can-massage-help-with-my-migraines/
    Given that this treatment was recommended/prescribed by your doctor and does not come with the side effects certain medications can include, many would consider this a low-risk treatment. If it helps, wonderful, if it doesn't you can stop without any ramifications. How long to continue treatment to determine if this is helpful for you is a question I would encourage you to discuss upfront with the massage therapist and/or your doctor. Also, setting and communicating what "helpful" means for you personally can help you evaluate as you go if the therapy is beneficial for you. Please keep us posted on how you decide to proceed! Wishing you a gentle day. ~Allyson (Migraine.com team)

    1. My doctor also suggested I try massages for my headaches and migraines. I didn't know who to go to, so I just picked a random massage therapist. The 1st one I had, I told the girl about my migraines. She said she doesn't massage heads or faces, which is where I hold a lot of tension... so that massage did nothing for me. The 2nd massage was a different therapist that did a neck, head and face massage. It felt nice, but she just did it based on routine and didn't do it hard enough to release tension. At that point I gave up. A year later, I decided to try a new therapist, she happens to own the yoga studio I go to. She does acupressure rather than massage and it was sooooo good! She closed her eyes while working on my muscles and found the exact spots that my migraines were stemming from. This could also be called Thai massage.
      So all in all, try different therapist to find someone who can help give you relief and listen to you.
      Massage was just one part of many things I have done to help reduce my migraines. I hope you find what can help you! Good luck and take care!

      1. Hi Latoyia. I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through. I have had migraine for 6+ years and massage has been a huge part of my treatment, but as we know it’s different for everyone. I find massage with the right therapist can actually relieve an ongoing migraine.

        Since you’ve never gone to massage therapy before I’d recommend first identifying what kind of provider you’d feel comfortable with (woman, man, doesn’t matter?) and to keep in mind that a) it’s important to be specific with what you want/don’t want (it can be awkward to speak up but it’s okay!!) and b) just because you don’t find relief with one therapist doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try again with another. It can be very personal in terms of “fit”.

        Good luck!

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