Chronic pain is the cause of many of our daily struggles. It makes doing simple everyday work and socializing difficult and thereby interfering with our mental, emotional and spiritual parts. The quality of life is also affected by pain. Unfortunately, the first treatment we opt for when we experience chronic pain is medication.
As a result, people are becoming more and more addicted to drugs like opioid, which are used in modern day pain killers. People tend to be hooked to drugs after taking them medically for chronic pain like back pain. Death from opioid overdose from pain killer has surpassed those from illicit street drugs.
If you are suffering from chronic pain, try using other methods to cure your pain before you opt for prescription drugs. Even though medicines may seem like a faster and easier method, it will harm you in the long run. Among other pain-reducing methods, the most effective and safe method is massage.
How Does A Massage Work?
A massage, if done correctly, is bound to give you a relaxing and rejuvenating sensation. But how does massage help to chase your pain away? There are two ways a massage helps you with your pain:
- The relaxation response- An involuntary but predictable response of the nervous system through massage techniques and touch.
- Mechanical response- These responses are physical effects that occur in the body on application of pressure on soft tissues.
Together these responses create amazing physical and emotional benefits.
The caring, safe touch of massage is an invitation to relax. This helps you relieve your pain and creates a relaxation response. When relaxation response is initiated, your heart and breathing rate will slow down, your blood pressure decreases, hormone production decreases and your muscles relax. This relaxation response also increases the level of serotonin, a hormone responsible for positive emotions and thoughts.
Relaxation response could decrease the physical effects of stress which in turn reduces the stress associated risks such as hypertension, anxiety, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, psychological problems, to name a few.
The physical manipulation increases the blood and lymph circulation while relaxing and normalizing the soft tissue that releases nerve like muscle, tendons, ligaments etc. and the deeper connective tissue.
Improved circulation increases the oxygen and nutrient supply to the muscle cells, which results in its improved health. This results in enhancement of tissue functioning, leading to more removal of waste products and increase in the absorption of excess fluids, reducing the swelling in soft tissues.
Massage therapy also relaxes the muscle tissues thereby reducing painful contractions and spasms. Massages are also known to reduce nerve compression. When muscles contract, they also compress the nerves around them so when they are relaxed after a massage the nerves are no longer compressed thereby improving the functioning of muscles and organs since organs share neurological pain pathways with muscles.
The Best Oils To Use For Your Massage:
There are a variety of oils you can use for a massage. You can use the recently trending water dispersible massage oil in if you are too lazy to clean oily towels. Or you can try ayurvedic oils since they contain a blend of many oils and herbs to specifically target muscle pain. Also, they are all natural and more effective.
Other alternatives which you can use are sweet almond oil, coconut oil, apricot kernel oil, etc. They are easily available and also effective. Whatever oil you use, try using the natural variant since it will be more effective.
How Often Should You Go For Massage:
For general wellness, you can opt for a massage session about once or twice a month, depending on your body.
For chronic conditions like migraine, back pain, etc. you should start going for a massage at least twice a week during the first few months, then you may decrease the frequency according to your needs. Chronic conditions require more attention and therefore more massage visits. It may not be solved in one session, but it can be well managed with regular and frequent visits.
Massage is a necessity for athletes to maintain muscle health and flexibility. Those who are heavily involved in sports need to go for a massage as much as 3 times a week since massage for them is a necessity and not a luxury.
People who go to massage for stress relief can go once in a week or two since massage can reduce stress drastically.
Some Types Of Massage & Their Advantages:
- Swedish Massage: This is one of the most popular massages. It is very good for relieving stress and for people who experience full body muscle cramp.
- Deep Tissue Massage: This massage may not suit everyone, but is great for people with chronic pain due to buildup of scar tissue or those with painful areas in neck, shoulders, and back.
- Trigger Point: It is similar to deep tissue massage and goes way deeper than the Swedish massage. It is best for chronic muscle pain, tension, as well as migraines caused by tension.
- Myofascial Release: It is similar to trigger point massage and targets trigger points in the fascia. This kind of massage can be relieving for those who suffer from fibromyalgia and is also used as a treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Craniosacral Therapy: It uses a very light touch which encourages a proper movement of cerebrospinal fluid through the brain and spinal cord. Since this massage has a light nature, it is very effective for fibromyalgia or other pain-related problems that include the whole body.
Even though massage is an all-natural and effective way to deal with various pains, there are a few precautions you must take care of. Tell your massage therapist about any health-related problems or cuts or burns you may be having. Your massage therapist must know about your medical history so that they can suggest what type of massage will be best for you. You also need to tell about your problem area, how bad it can be sometimes and many other related things. During the massage, try relaxing your muscles, and if you have a problem doing that talk to your massage therapist so that they will do the needful. Also, tell the therapist when the massage session gets too painful. This way you will get the maximum benefit out of your massage session.