Person frowns with pain as massage therapist performs massage on a table

Massage Once Helped Reduce My Migraine Frequency But Now It's a Trigger

I like fried brussel sprouts. Now, this is important because I haven't enjoyed brussel sprouts on their own since childhood. Sitting at dinner as an 8-year-old, I never thought I would say "yes" to those little green balls of evil, but as an adult, I'll eat them up and pretend they're a healthy addition to my meal - because fried probably not-so-much. Funny how things change. It's been a shocker, but the same holds true when it comes to my migraines. They change and shift, and most times, I never saw it coming.

Trying many remedies for migraine pain

I've tried many healing approaches in my search to find remedies to ease my migraine pain. From diet changes to exercise switches, I’ve tested out anything and everything I thought might disconnect the hot, straightening iron from my head to turn off the pain. Short of attempting "healing body painting," my list continues to grow, and one of the first items I ever added was massage.

Giving massage a try

When my migraines became more frequent, I tried preventative massage, well…that, and drinking gallons of water which didn't help — except to "help" me get in my "steps" on my way to the bathroom. I did my best to have a massage when I could swing it because it cut down my migraine frequency. Some months were better than others, but even when my migraines showed up, I had a way of reminding my body that feeling super good actually felt super good.

My attack relief turned into a trigger

Then without warning, these moments of self-care triggered my attacks. At first, I thought it was just a coincidence, so I stayed true to the ritual that had brought me relief, and I'd grown to love. But it didn't take long to connect the dots to understand my dependable routine was now undependable. How was this possible?

"I have to go to bed," I told my husband," I have a migraine."

"But you just got your massage," he added, confused, and so was I.

Migraine stole this from me too

I tried asking for lighter pressure during my visits. I drank power drinks filled with electrolytes in case my muscles needed the extra support. None of this worked. My migraine frequency increased, and I knew in my heart it was time to let this go. I already thought of my migraines as a petty thief: stealing bits of my health and chunks of time with friends and family. Now it was taking this from me, too. The disappointment I felt at saying goodbye hurt, but my head hurt more, so I moved on.

That was 9 years ago.

Looking for new methods of self-care

The ever-changing nature of my head forced me to search out different ways to get in my self-care — like mediation or long, slow walks. Over the years, I've discovered a reflexology massage won't set off my head, so that's something. And maybe one day, my migraines will change and shift again, and a massage will be on the massage table once more. You just never know...

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.