Massage for chronic pain can break the vicious cycle of pain, where pain leads to muscle tension, reduced circulation, and restricted movement, which in turn lead to more pain.
Muscles contract around any painful site to protect the area. If pain is resolved quickly, muscles relax. If pain persists, muscles can become habitually tight. Sometimes tight muscles press on nerves, causing tingling, numbness, or more pain. Massage therapy helps by stretching tight muscles and by stimulating the nervous system to relax muscle tension.
Eventually, the body lays down connective tissue in any contracted area with poor circulation. While helpful for healing injuries, this natural reaction can “glue” muscles and their connective tissue coverings into a shortened state. The stretching and kneading of massage therapy softens and lengthens connective tissue.
Irritating waste products, painful trigger points, and shortened muscles make even simple actions difficult and tiring. As your capacity for movement and exercise decreases, you lose the most important means for maintaining good circulation throughout your body, risking pain in new areas. Massage for chronic pain helps restore normal movement by releasing trigger points, removing waste products, and stretching shortened muscles. Also, because you feel better after a massage, you may find renewed energy and motivation for physical activity.
Massage also helps manage chronic pain by increasing energy and improving sleep. Collectively, these benefits of massage for chronic pain can help you get back to your regular routine faster, as well as provide the motivation you need to practice the prescribed rehabilitation exercises and return to a regular exercise program.
There are many types of techniques that can help relieve chronic pain:
- Deep Tissue – Helps release deep muscle knots, scar tissue, and muscle spasms that cause chronic pain.
- Swedish – The movements and firm pressure involved in Swedish massage affect all systems in the body, including soft tissues such as muscles and ligaments and also nerves and even glands.
- Scar Therapy – Breaks up deep adhesions that can connect to underlying tissues and organs which restrict movement and pliability of the muscle.
- Lymph Drainage – Takes away toxins that are trapped in the tissues due trahma to the body, such as surgery, injury or illness. Also boosts immune function which relieves pain and makes you feel good!
- Integrative Therapies – Myofascial Release and Neuromuscular Therapies help with pain as these techniques retrain the muscle to let go and unwind. As they relax, blood and oxygen are allowed to flow, which relieves pain.
- Cranio-Sacral Therapy – This therapy improves the functioning of the central nervous system which is the very core of our bodies. This thereapy is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.
The causes of chronic pain are as numerous as they are complex, originating primarily from physical disease and injury. Long-term illnesses including cancer, degenerative conditions associated with aging, central nervous system damage, inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, vascular conditions that reduce blood flow to certain parts of the body, trauma, and postural or overuse injuries, are all sources of chronic pain.