Expert Opinions

Expert Opinions Archive
Is <<>> effective against headaches?

A Danish study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (11/11/98) reported that 15 minutes twice a week of deep neck muscle massage, with or without accompanying <<>> spinal manipulation, may be an effective remedy for those with chronic headaches. By week seven, both groups of patients (those who received massage, and those who got massage plus chiropractic) had fewer hours of headaches per day and required less frequent or lower doses of pain-relieving medications.

Certified massage therapist James H. Clay, M.M.H., regards clinical massage as the treatment of choice for tension headaches (also known as stress headaches), the most common type of headache in adults. How does it work? Massage relieves tension in the muscles, and muscle tension plays a key role in making the pain of headaches worse. Clinical massage can help other kinds of headaches as well, including vascular headaches due to blood vessel constriction. It can even reduce the frequency and intensity of classic <<>>. In addition to massage, some therapists recommend that those with chronic headaches undergo a postural examination as well, because poor posture can cause severe ongoing stress to neck muscles.

The best way to find a qualified massage therapist is through referral, either by a health professional or a friend. Make sure that the practitioner is licensed to practice clinical massage (and not some racy variant!). The organizations below can also provide assistance in helping you find a certified clinical massage therapist.

American Massage Therapy Association, 820 Davis Street, Suite 100, Evanston, IL 60201-4444; (847) 864-0123. On the Web at:

National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, 8201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 300, McLean, VA 22102; (800) 296-0664. On the Web at:

For more on relief of serious headaches, be sure to visit our Healing Center for <<>>.

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