Activating Pressure Points Also known as self massage, applying pressure to areas that hurt, especially if it’s a tension headache or muscle pain, can be very beneficial, says Slawsby. It’s not clear why it works, but it does. Some people think that soothing messages from the massage counteract pain messages. Or it could be that the pressure reduces muscle tension, which is the culprit behind many different types of pain. If touch worsens the pain, though, don’t continue with the massage, Slawsby cautions.