The use of trigger point therapy for migraine relief-:Complete Guide

Are you suffering from migraine headaches that keep coming back? You’re not alone.

Trigger point therapy is an effective tool to bring relief from the debilitating symptoms of migraines. In this article, you’ll discover the science behind trigger point therapy and how it can help relieve your migraines.



Trigger point therapy is a form of massage therapy that involves the application and manipulation of pressure to specific points on or near the surface of the body. It is used to release muscular tension and pain, and can help reduce symptoms associated with various chronic conditions, including headache, migraine, sciatica, neck pain, and fibromyalgia.

The goal of trigger point therapy is to locate trigger points in the body and then manipulate muscles to reduce their sensitivity. This type of massage therapy has been shown to be effective for dealing with tension headaches, making it ideal for those who suffer from nerve-related chronic headaches such as migraines. It can also help relieve shoulder pain, neck stiffness and upper back tension that is often associated with headaches.

Trigger point therapy can also help decrease overall muscle tension and restore balance by increasing blood flow to restricted areas. As muscles relax, they become less painful, reducing the opportunity for migraine triggers to cause symptoms.

Definition of Migraine

Migraine is a common neurological disorder that Effects over one billion people worldwide and will often cause frequent, intense and disabling headaches. Usually those affected are women, however men can also suffer from migraine and experience episodes of throbbing or pulsating pain on one side of the head for several hours or even days at a time. Symptoms may also include nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light or sound, neck stiffness as well as visual disturbances known as an aura (1).

The exact cause of migraine is unknown, however it is believed to be triggered by changes in brain chemicals, genes and hormones amongst other factors such as environmental triggers like certain foods, stress levels or lack of sleep (2).

Treatment usually involves medications designed to reduce the intensity and frequency of migraines, however such treatments are often accompanied by mild side effects (3). For this reason many sufferers opt for more natural therapies like trigger point therapy which if used correctly has been proven effective in reducing the intensity of migraine attacks (4).

Explanation of Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point therapy is an alternative form of treatment that can be used to target and reduce the amount of pain experienced by those with migraines. The therapy involves focusing on specific areas of the body, known as trigger points, which are areas where nerves become inflamed, sensitive and painful. Therapists will work on these areas using pressure and massage techniques to help reduce pressure and inflammation in the area, resulting in a decrease in pain in that particular area.

Trigger point therapy has been known to help provide relaxation for people experiencing headaches and migraines, reducing muscle tension that can help lead to symptom relief. Additionally, this form of treatment can also promote better posture and improved circulation throughout the body. It may even provide additional benefit to those with chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia or back pain, as it is known to reduce tension within the body’s muscles which can cause discomfort.

Causes and Symptoms of Migraine

Migraine headaches are often caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Lower level of the hormone serotonin can cause the brain to be more sensitive to certain environmental triggers, such as light, noise, extreme changes in weather, or certain smells. Genetic links to migraines include particular mutations in genes that influence pain pathways and triggers for migraine headaches.

The most common symptoms of migraine include: intense throbbing or pulsing headache pain; increased sensitivity to light, sound, and movement; nausea; vomiting; mood disturbances, such as anxiety and depression; loss of appetite; disturbed sleep; fatigue; eye strain or pain in the eyes. In some people with migraines, an event known as an aura may occur before a migraine headache begins. This can manifest as visual disturbances including temporary vision loss or blindness, flashing lights or zigzag patterns in vision, or blind spots in vision. Other auras can be felt as sensations on one side of the body that can feel like pins-and-needles sensation, numbness tingling or even paralysis on one side of the body.

Common Triggers of Migraine

Migraine attacks can be caused by any number of factors, including allergies, physical exhaustion and stress. While the precise cause of each migraine is not always clear, identifying potential triggers and finding ways to manage them can help bring relief from these attacks.

Common triggers that are known to contribute to migraine onset include:

  • Changes in hormone levels: Fluctuations in hormones, especially for women with menstrual cycles and menopausal women, often trigger or worsen migraine attacks.
  • Changes in weather: Sudden changes in temperature or humidity can stimulate headaches in some people.
  • Foods and Drinks: Certain foods including cheese and chocolate are known as migraine triggers while alcohol consumption is also just one of many lifestyle factors that may lead to migraines.
  • Stress: Anxiety due to deadline pressure or an intense argument could be the reason behind your headache attack.
  • Light Sensitivity: Bright sunlight or flashing computer screens can cause a hard headache very quickly.

Symptoms of Migraine

Migraine is often accompanied by a cluster of symptoms that varies from person to person. The most common symptoms are headache, nausea, light sensitivity, and sound sensitivity. Others may experience dizziness, difficulty concentrating and speaking, fatigue, confusion or fainting. Some individuals may also feel an aura or a warning sensation prior to the onset of migraine attack.

Headache: A migraine headache is usually characterized by a throbbing, pulsating pain on one side of the head that can last anywhere from four hours to three days.

Nausea: Nausea is one of the most common symptom associated with migraine attacks and can be extremely disruptive if left untreated.

Light Sensitivity: A person with migraines might feel surge in discomfort when exposed to bright lights or sunlight. This phenomenon is also known as photophobia.

Sound Sensitivity: Some individuals also experience an increase in discomfort from normal everyday noises when suffering from a migraine attack.

Fatigue: People who suffer from migraine may feel extremely sluggish and exhausted both during the attack and even after it ends. This usually occurs because those affected are unable to get fair night sleep due to pain and other associated symptoms.

Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point therapy (also commonly known as myofascial trigger point therapy) is an evidence-based rehabilitation technique used to treat muscle pain and various forms of musculoskeletal dysfunction, including the relief of migraine pain. It involves the use of physical pressure applied to specific ‘trigger points’ in the body which can cause both local and referred pain. Common trigger points include areas of muscular hyperirritability, sensitivity or ‘knots’ which can be associated with tightness and restriction within muscles. The application of pressure to these trigger points can help to release them, reducing muscle tension, tightness and discomfort while also providing relief from migraine pain.

Different techniques are used within trigger point therapy, including squeezing, frictioning or massaging specific areas in the body – usually involving A/PIs (Advanced Practice Interventionalists), Physical Therapists or Massage Therapists. These techniques can be used in combination with stretching exercises in order to restore range of motion around painful joints, reduce fascialtightness along with releasing tissue adhesions that typically occur from repetitive motions or poor posture.

What is Trigger Point Therapy?

Trigger Point Therapy is a therapeutic massage technique used to treat muscle pain and tightness. The goal of this massage is to locate and eliminate trigger points, or areas of hyperirritability, in soft tissue or muscle. These points cause referred pain, which is when pain sensations are felt elsewhere in the body from the source of discomfort.

Trigger Point Therapy has been used for relief from various types of muscular pain as well as for acute and chronic conditions including chronic neck and shoulder pain, tension headaches, jaw dysfunction, low back strain and tennis elbow. It can be used alone or combined with other forms of physical therapy or medication for the relief of chronic migraine symptoms. It can also be effective in providing relief from trauma-related conditions such as whiplash, post-concussion syndrome and fibromyalgia.

How does Trigger Point Therapy work for Migraine Relief?

Trigger point therapy is a type of myofascial release (MFR) treatment where gentle but firm pressure is applied to specific areas in the body. These pressure points are believed to be the source of tension from trigger points or knots in the muscle fibers, often resulting from overuse or injury.

During the MFR session, the therapist works on releasing these trigger points and other areas of tension, restoring balance within your muscles, and ultimately alleviating pain. Trigger point therapy is thought to work by releasing endorphins into the bloodstream, which are natural pain-relieving chemicals. It may also reduce levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the body which can help reduce stress and relax muscle spasms.

Additionally, it works to increase blood flow throughout body tissues, allowing oxygen and nutrients to access these areas with increased efficiency, resulting in improved healing and recovery time from migraine headaches.

Techniques and Tools used in Trigger Point Therapy for Migraine Relief

Trigger point therapy involves the application of pressure to release tension in tight or contracted muscles. Pressure can be applied using fingers, knuckles, elbows, or tools such as massage tools and balls. There are specific techniques used in the application of pressure that may need to be manipulated for different trigger points. These include pin-and-stretch technique, active isolated stretches and ischemic compression. The pressure should be firm yet comfortable and should be increased gradually until a tender spot is felt by the patient, which indicates a trigger point. Once a trigger point has been found it should then be held for 10-20 seconds as this helps to alleviate tension in the muscle fibres and allows them to relax. Additional techniques such as friction massage, cross fibre massage and muscle energy technique can also help break adhesions that occur within muscles due to trauma or repetitive motion injuries which may cause migraines.

It is important to note that over usage of some tools like massage balls can lead to damaged tissue so care must be taken when selecting tools and with their usage. It is always advised to consult a licensed physical therapist who can properly assess your condition prior to engaging in any self care methods involving trigger point therapy for migraine relief.

Benefits and Risks of Trigger Point Therapy for Migraine Relief

Trigger point therapy has been found to contain potential benefits for migraine relief-if you are considering if this approach is right for you, it is important to understand both the risk and rewards associated with it.

The various advantages of trigger point therapy include reduction in chronic muscle tension, improved blood flow thereby increasing oxygenation, decrease in pain intensity, improved range of motion and an overall sense of relief from the symptoms. Additionally, those struggling with acute or chronic migraines may be able to benefit from trigger point therapy as the action of deep massage can help reduce inflammation which can in-turn reduce the frequency or intensity of migraines.

As with any medical procedure there are certain risks associated with trigger point therapy for migraine relief as well. Some potential risks include overload/overstimulation of muscle groups leading to soreness (as massage increases circulation), injury due to poor training/experience of practitioner and discomfort due to presence of active ‘painful’ trigger points. Generally speaking, these risks can be minimised by choosing a qualified and experienced practitioner for your treatment who understands your individual needs and health history.

Benefits of Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point therapy is the use of pressure applied to specific points in the body to relieve pain or discomfort. It involves the application of pressure to areas in the muscles known as ‘trigger points’. The pressure can help to reduce tension and alleviate pain.

Trigger point therapy offers a number of potential benefits for individuals living with migraine headaches. This treatment may help:

  • Reduce muscle tension which can improve circulation in the body
  • Relieve pain, including headache pain due to trigger points in the facial, neck and head areas
  • Improve range of motion in the neck and head
  • Increase flexibility and strength through targeted exercises
  • Provide a sense of relaxation to promote deeper sleep
  • Improve movement patterns that contribute to migraine headaches.

Risks of Trigger Point Therapy

When performed by a qualified professional, trigger point therapy is generally considered to be safe. However, there are some risks and side effects that can occur. These can include temporary worsening of symptoms, bruising, and soreness in the affected area.

Additionally, people with certain conditions may need to be wary of trigger point therapy due to increased risk for injury or complications. People with a bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia or vitamin K deficiency, should avoid trigger point therapy because it could potentially lead to excessive bleeding. Those with nerve damage or circulation problems should also use caution when considering trigger point therapy.

Your healthcare provider will be able to tell you if this type of therapy is right for you based on your specific health condition.


The results of this study have indicated that using trigger point therapy for migraine relief may be effective in reducing the symptoms. While there is not enough evidence to support its use as a long-term solution, the results suggest that it could be beneficial for individuals who suffer from migraines.

Trigger point therapy shows promise for providing migraine relief in many individuals, and more research is needed to assess its effectiveness as well as to understand how best to utilize it in clinical practice.

In conclusion, trigger point therapy could potentially provide migraine symptom relief without the need for powerful medications and their accompanying side effects.

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