Massage can provide great relief, and isn’t just for pampering. It works by stopping the cycle of pain. When an injured person has pain, the muscles tighten around the affected area, mobility is reduced, and circulation is reduced. Massage works by restoring mobility to tightened muscles and trigger points and by lengthening the muscles. Massage can improve circulation, as well as help to relieve emotional stress and anxiety that can contribute to chronic pain. Massage has been able to help hospitalized patients manage chronic pain and relieve anxiety. It also helps by reducing anxiety and increasing sleep.
There are many types of massage that can help relieve chronic pain. Deep massage techniques, including deep-tissue massage, shiatsu and trigger point therapy, can help release deep muscle knots, scar tissue, and muscle spasms that cause chronic pain. With deep-tissue massage, the therapist applies firm pressure to the deep muscles and connective tissue to relieve sources of chronic pain. Trigger point therapy involves the application of steady pressure on specific areas or “trigger points” to release muscle spasms.
Therapeutic massage techniques, such as Swedish massage, involve gentle kneading of the surface muscle tissues. They are not effective for long-term chronic pain management.
To relieve chronic pain, a person will need to receive massage treatments regularly, and may not begin to experience relief until after several massage treatments. A massage therapist can recommend the frequency of massage sessions to provide the most effective relief of chronic pain. In addition, massage therapy works best when it’s part of a complete treatment program that includes other therapies such as chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.
Chronic pain can be debilitating, not only limiting a person’s ability to participate in activities of daily living but also contributing to emotional stress and depression.
Here are some tips for managing chronic pain:
- Seek an experienced certified massage therapist for treatment: It is important to seek treatment from a certified massage therapist who can evaluate your condition and recommend the massage techniques that are right for the individual.
- Maintain good posture of the back and spine to relieve chronic back or neck pain: Try to always maintain a natural, aligned spinal position when sitting, standing, and walking.
- Exercise regularly and practice strengthening exercises: Regular exercise is helpful to improve posture, maintain flexibility, increase strength, and reduce pain. A physical therapist can recommend specific stretching and strengthening exercises to decrease pain. When performed correctly, yoga can be an excellent method to both stretch and strengthen the body to relieve chronic pain.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Utilizing deep breathing, guided imagery, and other relaxation techniques can help manage chronic pain by reducing tension and producing a calming effect on the body and mind.
At the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith, we advise all of our clients who have chronic pain to discuss massage therapy and other options for pain management with their treating physicians.