Chronic pain can be caused by a variety of factors and can provoke many different responses within the body. People living with chronic pain often experience heightened levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. In addition, relief can sometimes be difficult or impossible to obtain.
There are many different types of chronic pain, from pain resulting from injury to pain caused by a long-term illness or from a specific condition, such as: arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint hypermobility, or chronic myofascial pain syndrome (CMPS). Massage therapy can help clients manage their pain and the stress it causes. Here is a closer look at the relationship between massage therapy and chronic pain.
Those with Massage Therapy Training Can Help to Relieve Chronic Pain
Although graduates of massage therapy courses often cannot permanently fix chronic pain, massage can sometimes help clients to manage their pain and reduce some of the stress and tension associated with it.
Pain is created by receptors sending a signal to the brain, which passes through the nerves. Massage manipulates the muscles, creating friction which can help to disrupt these pain signals. Massage also increases blood flow, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the area and reducing the buildup of lactic acid. This can help to repair injured muscles by reducing tightness and loosening the muscles, lessening pain and speeding up the healing process. The tension that comes with chronic pain can cause muscular tightness and knots, which can in turn worsen pain. Fortunately, by helping to reduce that tension, massage can help clients find some relief.
Massage also helps clients manage stress. This is because massage helps to promote the release of beneficial hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which can help to reduce stress, induce relaxation, and create a positive mentality.
Working with Clients Who Have Chronic Pain
During massage therapy training, you will learn about different pathologies of the human body and their respective treatment procedures. When working with clients with chronic pain, though, it’s important to know which kinds of massage can be most beneficial. This often depends on the kind of pain the client is experiencing, as some clients may respond better to deep tissue massage and increased pressure, whereas other clients will not be able to withstand such pressure and may require a gentler touch.
No matter the kind of pain a client is experiencing, it is important to complete a thorough intake. A massage therapist should be aware of whether the client is using a medication, as this might affect how the client should be treated. Taking note of any sensitivities the client may have due to their pain is especially important, whether it’s regarding music, scents, or light. As always, check in with the client throughout the session to ensure that they are not experiencing too much pain, as it’s important that the massage helps those with chronic pain to gain as much relief as possible.
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