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A therapists guide to Tension Headaches

Are your clients often complaining of tension headaches, not sleeping well, suffering from stress and have tight neck and shoulders? Chances are they are having to often take painkillers but we can offer some simple massage techniques to ease symptoms and relax their neck and shoulders.


What type of headache are these techniques effective for?

Here we are looking to improve tension headaches caused by tightness in the neck and shoulders. Working to release tension in the scalene muscle group is highly effective for this type of headache whereas in contrast won't effect much change on migraines.


What muscles are involved?

Here we are focusing on the thoracic outlet triangle and we will be working on the scalene muscles, a group of three muscles found on either side of the neck. The three scalenes are the scalenus anterior (anterior scalene), scalenus medius (middle scalene) and scalenus posterior (posterior scalene). The action of the anterior & middle scalene muscles is to elevate the first rib, and flex and laterally bend the neck to same side. The action of the posterior scalene is to elevate the second rib and tilt the neck to the same side. A main player when it comes to deskwork, lots of driving and any activity that promotes poor posture.

First let's take a look at the surface anatomy of the Scalenes with Tamara Howard, Our Sports Massage Tutor here at the Academy. Then scroll down for the techniques to unlock tension held in the scalenes...




So let's take a look at how we can locate and treat the scalenes to relieve tension headaches for our clients...