Chronic pain is one of the most debilitating health issues a person can deal with. Each day is a new challenge in trying to cope with pain, which can lead to other problems as well. This article will explain the benefits of massage therapy for chronic pain.
Massage Therapy for Chronic Pain
Since the issue is persistent and unrelenting, the only real options for treating chronic pain involve pain management, which can be done through a variety of methods. Massage therapy for chronic pain is an effective method that allows for an easing of the symptoms without the use of any medications, and may lead to a permanent reduction in the severity and outflowing issues that come from chronic pain.
Types of Chronic Pain
The direct causes of chronic pain are largely unknown to researchers. It comes in many forms and affects areas all over the body, but can be classified into two main types.
Fibromyalgia is often diagnosed when there is a minimum of 11 out of 18 tender points that register pain when touched. The most common areas affected by this are the neck and lower back. Fibromyalgia sufferers often have acute, superficial tender points, making daily activity unbearable at times, depending on the level of pain.
Headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, numbness in the upper and lower body, and joint stiffness are some of the most common symptoms that occur from fibromyalgia. Additional symptoms can include constant exhaustion and paresthesia, a musculoskeletal pain that provides a tingling or prickling.
Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Symptoms of chronic myofascial pain syndrome tend to show up after a person suffers an injury, or has trauma to a certain area. This can sometimes be the result of repeating physical activity to a part of the body, such as the bending of a joint on a constant basis due to a job or sport.
Common symptoms of chronic myofascial pain syndrome can include a condition called lacrimation, which is a deep aching affecting one group of muscles or several, noticeable increase or decrease in body heat, and excessive sweating.
Chronic myofascial pain syndrome can also result in trigger points with profound aching, and even desensitized nerve endings, which present its own set of problems.
Regardless of the type of chronic pain, the results are largely the same: a diminished quality of life and additional symptoms that can make even the most basic physical activity close to impossible. This can lead to an unhealthy reliance on pain medications, and even depression and trouble sleeping.
How Massages Help with Chronic Pain Symptoms
Massage therapy for chronic pain can dramatically improve the quality of life for chronic pain suffers in a variety of ways, no matter which type of pain it is.
Serotonin is a naturally occurring substance in your body that helps to ease the feeling of pain. Massages of all types are noted for being able to encourage the body to produce serotonin naturally, leading to an overall increase within the body.
Regular massages are a natural way to raise serotonin levels on a constant basis, leading to a much-reduced level of pain that isn’t dependent on medications.
Lack of sleep is a common problem with chronic pain. Sometimes the pain can cause enough discomfort to keep you awake at night, and other times it may be the result of depression. Regardless of the root cause, the constant tiredness from lack of quality sleep only serves to diminish your quality of life further and heighten symptoms.
In addition to easing pain, massages also encourage relaxed muscles and easing of the mind, which can have a direct affect on your ability to get quality sleep. Your muscles are less tense at night and during the day, and your mind ceases to stress as much. The better sleep you receive through regular massages will have a positive outflow in your daily life, while also making you more alert and aware.
Increased Range of Motion
Chronic pain restricts physical activity, which in turn limits your body’s flexibility and range of motion. As your range of motion dwindles, your pain level increases from even the simplest actions, especially in your joints such as knees and wrists.
A massage can have positive effects on muscles, ligaments, and joints, improving range of motion while keeping joints lubricated. This also stimulates blood flow, resulting in better circulation.
Decreased Anxiety and Better Moods
Anxiety is a common outflow of chronic pain, as is depression. Studies have shown that a massage increases your body’s levels of oxytocin and serotonin, which results in lowered stress and anxiety. The increased relaxation that comes from regular massage therapy can also lower your blood pressure.
When your body is more relaxed, you have a better heart rate and improved breathing. All of these things combine to not only combat your pain level but improve your mood as well.