Can Active Release Therapy Relieve Headache Pain?

Can Active Release Therapy Relieve Headache Pain?

The effects of headache pain can range from annoying to debilitating, and can reduce your enjoyment of day-to-day activities. Chronic tension headaches or migraines can make it nearly impossible to function. Headache triggers may include lack of sleep, poor posture, anxiety, stress, over-use of headache medications, or hormonal imbalances. The most common cause for headaches can be traced back to issues that originate in the muscles, joints, and nerves in the neck. Alternative therapies, such as Active Release Techniques (ART®) are recognized as a quick and effective headache pain treatment. ART® practitioners focus on the cause of pain, not just the symptoms, and pain tends to occur as a result of overuse, or injury.  Find out how Active Release Therapy can help.

How Can ART® Relieve Headache Pain? 

Your head places great demand on your neck, which means each muscle must be strong, flexible, and coordinated. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves are intended to move freely so that you can enjoy maximum strength and mobility. However, when they are strained or injured, scar tissue forms and your soft tissue functions poorly. Scar tissue is made up of dense adhesions that can weaken and shorten your muscles. In turn, your tendons become tense, nerves are pinched, and you lose range of motion. When there is weakness in your neck, tension develops causing numbness, tingling, throbbing pressure, burning, and sharp head pain.

Scientific studies suggest that headaches are commonly connected to the muscles, joints, and nerves of the neck. The neck, or cervical spine, is made up of 7 small, stacked vertebrae separated by intervertebral discs. These discs act as shock absorbers, allowing your spine ease of motion. A complex structure of muscles control movement, protect your spinal column, and bear the weight of your head. With Active Release Techniques (ART®), a specialized movement-based massage therapy, your muscles, tendons, and fascia can relax, reducing the tension and stress that causes headache pain.

How Does Active Release Therapy Work? 
Abnormal joint movement, trapped nerves, tight muscles, and scar tissue adhesions do not show up on traditional x-ray or imaging scans. However, with the hands of an experienced ART® practitioner, these imbalances can be felt, and tested to diagnose the root cause of the pain. Active Release Techniques allows an ART® practitioner to explore areas that may be contributing to your headache pain, and customize treatment to correct specific dysfunction. First, the clinician will ask you to shorten the affected muscle, tendon, or ligament, and then apply strategic pressure while you stretch and lengthen the tissues. Next, your practitioner will assess the muscle texture, and tension to determine which tissues are healthy, and which require further treatment. 

Active Release Therapy For Pain Relief

When it comes to headache pain, Active Release Techniques (ART®) can provide effective relief. It is beneficial as a stand-alone treatment, or it can be combined with chiropractic care to restore full motion and function, to release lymphatic fluid, trapped nerves, and blood vessels. This improves soft tissue resilience and encourages optimal texture. 

ART® should only be performed by a certified provider. The entire team at Performance Health & Wellness in Irvine are ART® certified at the highest level. Our practitioners will carefully evaluate your overall health and will collaborate to create a customized plan involving fitness, health, and therapeutic strategies that work for you. If you are suffering from headache pain in Irvine, California, please call us 1-949-476-1250 or fill out the online contact form to book an ART® consultation.


With increased computer and mobile device use, poor or prolonged postural strain can occur. Repetitive stressors, such as athletics, lack or stretching, or past injuries to the neck can all lead to tension and weakness in the cervical spine. In order to maintain healthy function in the head and neck region, it is important to release any scar tissue adhesions, and restore an optimal range of motion.

Each Active Release Therapy session will be tailored to a person’s needs and their pain level tolerances. Because Active Release Techniques require pressure on the damaged areas, it may cause some discomfort and mild pain, but your practitioner will make it as comfortable as possible and will communicate with you throughout the session to make sure you are not experiencing intense pain.

ART® can work in as little as one session, as the majority of neck and head-related pain responds well, especially when combined with appropriate stretches and strengthening exercises. Each person’s case is unique, however, in that several factors can be contributing to the problem, which will determine the length of treatment required to resolve your specific issues.

Connect With Our Team, Connect With Yourself

If you are seeking solutions to find complete wellness and to feel empowered to live your healthiest life, Performance Health & Wellness is the ideal partner on your journey. With a spectrum of comprehensive services to help you find balance and to feel good, our expert team is here to guide you.

Connect with yourself by connecting with the team at Performance Health & Wellness. Call (949)476-1250.

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