Chronic stress contributes to the development of the most common types of headaches, including tension-type headaches and migraines. Treatments tailored to reduce stress, such as biofeedback and acupuncture, are excellent non-chemical methods to combat chronic headaches.
Massage therapy effectively reduces tender muscles in the back of the head, neck, and shoulders, while increasing blood flow in those areas. Many people find that massage provides relief from headaches caused by muscle tension.
Acupuncture can cause the release of pain-reducing opioid chemicals, such as endorphins. It also stimulates the brain to release other hormones and body chemicals that transmit signals between different types of cells, including cells in the immune system.
Headaches often accompany a variety of other conditions that are helped by acupuncture. Lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and menstrual cramps are some of the conditions for which acupuncture is an alternative treatment in a comprehensive pain management program.
Unlike many other anti-pain therapies, acupuncture tends to reduce chronic pain and headaches with lasting effects - often for months.
Biofeedback therapy often helps a headache sufferer learn stress-reduction skills by providing information about brain waves, muscle tension, skin temperature, and other vital signs.
Electrodes (small metal sensors) are attached to the skin and to measure skin temperature and muscle tension. For example, a relaxation response results in dilated blood vessels and warm skin and a stress response reduces skin temperature because of constriction of blood vessels.
We use biofeedback training to teach you how to influence the blood flow to your brain and thus better manage a headache. Most people find that this reduces the frequency and duration of headaches (both children and adults). The effects of biofeedback are comparable to many drugs used for chronic headaches and is recommended as an early treatment for recurrent migraines.
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