Therapeutic Massage for Pain Control
What do you instinctively do when your back, neck, or head ache? Remember times when you have accidentally bumped your knee or bumped your head. What is your natural instinct after yelping “ouch!”? Your hands almost immediately reach for the affected area, and rub the pain away. What does that tell you about the natural and genetic inclinations towards massage? Bodywork offers a drug-free, non-invasive and humanistic approach based on the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Pain can be caused by: Muscle tension, twists and bends in the spine, tension in the gut, trigger points, inflexible ligaments, fixated joints, adhesions, etc. For pain relief, massage is most effective when using slow, steady, circular motions. You can massage over or near the area of pain with just your bare hand or with any substance that feels good such as talcum powder, warm oil, or hand lotion. Depending upon where your pain is located, you may do it yourself or ask someone to give you a massage.
How does Therapeutic Massage Work?
- Relaxes muscles
- Improves range of motion
- Increases serotonin and endorphins,
- enhances medical treatment
- Reduces blood pressure and heart rate
- Increases blood circulation
- Boost the body’s immune system functioning
Rubbing may interfere with pain signals' pathways to your brain, a process called the "gate control theory," according to experts. Pain impulses run toward the spinal cord and then up the cord and into the brain. It's only when they reach the brain that these impulses, are perceived as pain. When you rub, it sends other impulses along the same nerves. When all these impulses try to reach the brain through nerves, the nerves get clogged like a highway during rush hour. The result is that most of them won't reach the brain. And if the pain signals does not reach the brain, you won't feel pain. Thus massage works by 'closing the gate' that pain impulses have to pass through.
Research has shown that massage lowers the heart rate and blood pressure, increases circulation and endorphins, and relieves muscle tension, spasm, and stiffness. All of these contribute to pain. Massage calls up endorphins-the body's natural painkillers. It stimulates the release of endorphins, the morphine-like substances that the body manufactures, into the brain and nervous system. Experts suggest that tense muscles are usually deprived of oxygen, because the tightness reduces blood circulation to the area. Massage improves blood circulation, bringing with it what the muscle needs-oxygen and other forms of nourishment. The muscle then relaxes, and pain decreases. Also massage makes you feel relieved and gives you deep relaxation.
In addition to the effects of massage therapy on pain, it also helps reduce anxiety, which is a contributing factor on pain. Diseases, studies indicate, are an estimated 80-90 percent stress-related.-Read More about Massage Benefits
Massage is Alternative Medicine
Massage is providing the benefit by the therapeutic value of touching that helps a person in pain. Research shows that even touch lasting for a few seconds has the ability to make people feel better. Obviously, an hour-long touch provided by massage has to make you feel good!
This makes therapeutic massage a great option for individuals recovering from surgery or suffering from chronic illness. This can lead to a decreased need for medication. Some people rely on massage therapy when they can’t tolerate or would rather avoid the side effects of medication. (pregnant women, chemotherapy patients, people already on specific medications, etc)
Most of us know that therapeutic massage feels good; but massage also provides relief to a multitude of specific health concerns. Massage is part of an integrative care approach to many medical conditions which include: Fibromyalgia, Back Pain, Arthritis, Neck Pain, Shoulder Soreness, Headaches, Migraines, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Myofascial Pain, TMJ, Injuries, Reduced range of motion, Insomnia and Stress.
Pain Management Source
-Massage Therapy Study articles from Touch Research Institute
-The AMTA articles from American Massage Therapy Association:
"Massage May Help Ease Your Pain”
"Massage Therapy Has a Role in Pain Management"