- Irritants or sensitivity. It’s possible you’re sensitive to, or have an allergy to, a product in the massage space. This includes products such as the cleaning agents used, perfume or incense, detergent used to launder the linens, or an ingredient in the massage oil.
- Dehydration. Dehydration on its own can cause headaches. Leading up to the massage, if your baseline hydration is low and combined with massage, this can cause a headache. Having your muscles manipulated and in some cases pressed on deeply can amplify this.
- Too much pressure. The massage might be too much pressure for a particular person’s body. During a deep tissue massage, if the therapist applies too much pressure, it can cause sore muscles, muscle bruising, and increased blood circulation, which may trigger a headache.
- Positional blood pressure changes. People experience changes in blood pressure when standing after being seated or laying down for a period of time. Orthostatic hypotension, or postural hypotension, is a type of low blood pressure that you might be experiencing. Headache can be one of the symptoms of hypotension.
During a deep tissue massage, the massage therapist targets deep layers of muscle and fascia. This often involves a great deal of pressure and can be quite painful when your therapist presses hard into areas of tight or knotted muscle. They may use deep strokes or small circular motions.
One small studyTrusted Source found that moderate-pressure massages stimulated the parasympathetic nervous system more than low pressure-massages.
Activating the parasympathetic nervous system can affect blood pressure, which in turn can affect headaches.
Here are some common causes of headaches in general:
- Blood pressure changes. One mechanism that may produce various types of headaches is the rapid constricting or dilating of blood vessels in the head. This can be the result of dehydration, hormonal changes, stress, eating certain foods, muscle tension, sex, extreme heat or cold, exercising, or sleeping too much.
- Irregular schedule, stress, and less sleep. Contributing factors for tension-type headaches include stress, emotional and mental conflict, irregular diet, an irregular meal schedule, strenuous exercise, depression, and disrupted sleep patterns.
- Hormone changes. Another common cause of headaches are hormone changes. Although big hormone changes are most often thought of in association with menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, or use of hormone replacement and oral contraceptives, hormone levels naturally change in both men and women.
- Not enough water. Dehydration, or not drinking enough water, is another common cause of headache