March/April 2002 Alternative Health
by Todd Pennington
Headaches are a problem for many of us, and there are many causes.
Frequently, they are due to muscle tightness in the head and neck. This
tightness can be released and, in many cases, the results can be more
than temporary. Some clients have experienced as much as several years
(and counting) of improvement.
Headaches are defined as diffuse or specific pain in portions of the
head, which may be acute or chronic. They are frequently classified
as tension, cluster, migraine, and histamine-related. Almost all headaches
are of little major concern, except to the person who has them. In a
few cases they can be a signal of major medical problems, if all other
concerns are controlled or they feel really unusual, consult a doctor.
This is a general caution, as most headaches are not a symptom of other
Most headaches are caused by muscle tightness, toxin build up, or bones
being out of place and can be aggravated by normal life tension. The
occasional headache is easy to take care of by use of pain pills or
just letting the headache go away with time.
Toxin build up is most likely due to physical exercise, a change in
diet, various chemicals, etc. A good way to relieve the pain is to drink
more water. A general rule: if you have a headache, drink a quart of
water. In many cases the headache can be from dehydration. Dehydration
can cause other problems as well. Many sources say to drink at least
two quarts of water a day and some say to drink more than that. The
average person in our culture does not drink enough water. Some types
of pop and coffee work as diuretics and may take out more fluid than
Another possible cause of headaches is that the electrolytes in the
blood may be off balance. Electrolytes are various salts and minerals.
Long term correction should be done by changes in the diet. If the problems
persist, especially long term excessive water gain, consult a doctor.
Each of us has as some time fallen or hit our head in some way, or
had a sudden motion of the head and neck. One possible result of this
is that the cranial bones (those bones in the head that protect the
brain) can shift. In some cases this may be only a small amount, in
others it may be more. Some doctors say that these bones do not move.
I have found that they can move and frequently do when there is a sudden
force on the body. Once moved they tend to hold the new position. In
the mirror check to see if your ears are at the same level and see if
they are the same distance back from the front. Many people spend a
lot of money and time on treatments that could be replaced with gently
coaxing the head bones to relax them back to their normal position.
When the head bones are out of place, they can force the spine to be
out of position and may cause problems for the rest of the body.
Everyone has tension in his/her life; in many people this results
in tight muscles. Feel the back of your neck ; it should be loose and
pliable at the top. If it is painful or tight it can easily be the cause
of head pain and problems for the rest of the body. The scalp can tighten
and try to compress the head. Muscles can exert continual pressure of
up to 2,000 pounds per square inch. This is like a hammer hitting a
nail. It can also be compared to pressing onto the sensor with the weight
of a car. Control Muscle Release Therapy can find ways to relax the
muscles and reduce the pain sensation and improve mobility.
Migraines are a signal that the body is way off normal. It is one
way that the body has to get our attention and say NO to something that
is going on. The trouble is trying to find the trigger and a way to
take care of it. Migraines can be helped; it takes finding the cause
and making the changes to correct it. In many cases, specific massage
such as Control Muscle Release Therapy is needed to find what needs
to change and to make the change. Each form of medicine has part of
the answer; in many cases not enough variables have been considered
to find some of the answers.
Even if you have been told that nothing can ever be done, there can
be hope of change if the problem is due to muscle tightness. Frequently
this improvement can last for many years. To have long term results,
the entire system must be relaxed and not just a part of it.
Control Muscle Release Therapy looks at the muscles that control bone
and muscles at a distance. The goal is to release the structure easily
and gently. The easiest way to release the whole body is to relax the
key regions of the body. I work on all the issues that I have talked
For more information or an appointment call Todd Pennington, LMT,
10175 SW Barbur. Suite 306 Portland OR 97219. (503) 244-4427. For more
articles see www.penningtonmassage.com.