THE SCIENCE OF CHRONIC PAIN AND MASSAGE

It is amazing how easily the human body adapts to pain.  Many new clients report experiencing constant dull pain that is tolerable but doesn’t seem like that big of a deal or “it’s just part of getting older.”  Massage can relieve pain through several mechanisms, including relaxing tight and painful muscles, tendons, and joints; relieving stress and anxiety; and possibly helping to “close the pain gate” by stimulating competing nerve fibers and impeding pain messages to and from the brain.

Chronic or Persistent pain is often caused by lifestyle or postural habits.  Even low-level pain causes fatigue and causes us to squander excessive amounts of energy to deal with the pain, eventually making our daily decisions and ability to focus on our work and activities of daily living more difficult because we use more effort to get through a day.  When we experience chronic, persistent pain, the effects spill out across our daily lives in innumerable ways, often negatively impacting other aspects of our health and well-being.  Example include:

  • Mood Swings
  • Compensation Pain Patterns
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

The good news…Massage Therapy helps!  One study published in the “Annals of Family Medicine” in 2014 found that 60-90 minute therapeutic massage sessions two or three times a week for four to six weeks relieved chronic pain more effectively than OTC pharmaceuticals. 

Massage therapy can involve varying degrees of pressure.  It’s an annoying myth that deep pressure creates more benefits.  In some cases, deep pressure can actually be counterintuitive.  Although some guests find deep-pressure massage enjoyable, most people find it painful.  Massage does not need to be painful to be therapeutic.  While we would never say massage doesn’t involve some pain, massage should not cause you pain throughout the entire massage.  The fact is that most chronic pain conditions benefit more from mild to moderate pressure.  That’s why it’s important to clearly communicate with your therapist about the type of touch you prefer.  Lighter pressure may be more relaxing and beneficial, depending on your situation.  People with certain pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, may only be able to tolerate light pressure.

Although there’s no evidence or data suggesting massage is harmful, there are some specific situations where it is not recommended.  Please let your therapists know if you have inflamed skin (sunburn, rash, or Eczema),  skin infections, phlebitis, or blood clots. 

Now that you know massage therapy helps alleviate all types of pain, we have even better news for you.  Massage Remedy has trained our professional therapists to assist you with your type of pain.  Your body doesn’t have to hurt!   Massage Remedy takes a holistic approach to our guest’s well-being.  This means that massage is simply one aspect of our guest’s care.  We design every massage around our guest’s needs.  Let our professional therapists at Massage Remedy™ design a plan to help alleviate your chronic and persistent discomfort and pain.

Resource: 

27 Things You Understand Only If You Live with Chronic Pain

Massage and Chronic Pain- American Massage Therapy Association