It is so good to be back in Sacramento. A couple of weeks ago I spoke about how getting my favorite Acupuncturist back (Miles Roberts) was so great. Well today I had my first session with my old massage therapist and that was also very special. His name is Anthony Spearman and he is in the top five of all massage therapists I’ve been to over the past 26 years.
I want to take this opportunity to talk just a little about the importance of massage as one nonpharmacological component of an effective pain management plan. When using massage therapy you need to understand that there will be some immediate pain relief and reduced muscle tension, but it will be short-lived if not followed with other measures. This is understandable since there are many precursors or triggers for muscle tension that often resurface soon after a massage session. Therefore, other interventions must be implemented that are specific to each individual person, and must be used in the proper sequence. Below I list some of the benefits for using massage to help treat chronic pain.
Massage for chronic pain can:
- Reduce Muscle Tension. 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.
- Improve Circulation. Tight muscles reduce circulation, letting waste products accumulate, which can leave you feeling fatigued and sore. Plus waste products can irritate nerves, causing pain to spread. Massage therapy releases contracted muscles and increases circulation. As massage relaxes the nervous system, blood vessels dilate to increase blood flow. Waste products are flushed away and replaced with oxygen and nutrients.
- Stretch Muscles and Improves Movement. 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.
It is important to ask your primary healthcare provider whether massage therapy is right for you. If so ask for referrals or ask other people living with chronic pain and use massage therapy who they would recommend. Again it is crucial to use a multidimensional approach to mange your chronic pain. To learn more please check out our website www.addiction-free.com and especially the Articles and Publications pages.