Chronic pain is a condition seen in a wide variety of people. A pain is termed ‘chronic’ once it has lasted more than around 12 weeks. Chronic pain can vary in severity having some people suffer from very mild, moderate pain where others may feel intense, agonising pain. Chronic pain can often develop due to injury, trauma or infection however can also be caused by years of poor posture, being overweight, aging/weakening of joints or arthritis, cancer, multiple sclerosis and many more.
There are various symptoms of chronic pain including;
- Constant mild to intense pain
- Persistent shooting, burning or aching sensations
- Continuous feelings of discomfort
Chronic pain can have many negative effects on people including;
- Anxiety or depression
- Poor sleeping pattern
How can massage help chronic pain?
A massage at Massage.physio.co.ukcan hugely benefit those suffering with chronic pain. The most common ways a massage can help include:
- Decreased pain
- Increased relaxation
- Increased range of movement
The benefits most often gained through massage for chronic pain include decreased pain, increased relaxation and increased range of movement.
Pain is caused when receptors in the body detect a problem and sends a message to the brain alerting it of this. The brain then sends a signal down to your nerves which then produce feelings of pain. A massage helps to reduce pain by disturbing the signal sent from the receptors to the brain. Friction created between the skin and fingers creates a new sensation which is detected by the receptors. This new sensation causes a different message to be sent to brain and a new signal to be sent to the nerves causing them to provide a feeling of relaxation. Disturbing the message sent to the brain therefore reduces pain. A study by Harald Walach et al shows that those suffering with chronic pain that were treated with massage, had a significant decrease in pain which was still improved during their follow up, furthermore proving the positive effects massage can have.
Relaxation is increased by massage as it encourages the release of positive hormones endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. Without positive hormones, symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression can increase. Positive hormones give us our feelings of happiness, enthusiasm and more importantly relaxation whilst also reducing feelings of anxiety and depression. Increasing the circulation of positive hormones through massage therefore improves relaxation and also reduces stress. In the same study by Harald Walach et al, massage was shown to also reduce depression and anxiety. reducing depression and anxiety allows a further increase in mental relaxation.
Increased range of movement (ROM)
ROM is increased through reduction of muscle tightness and tension. Muscle tightness and tension is caused through factors such as injury, pain and poor postures. Muscle tightness and tension increases pain and restricts movement. Muscle tightness and tension is reduced when tissue temperature increases due to an increase in circulation. Increasing soft tissue temperature enables muscles to relax resulting in decreased muscle tightness and tension and thus increases ROM.
Overall, the effects of massage for chronic pain can be hugely beneficial for anyone suffering from this kind of condition. The main benefits include:
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Reduced stress
- Reduced pain
- Relieved muscle tension and tightness
How can I arrange a massage for chronic pain?
You can also book an appointment onlineand save £10.
Harald Walach, Corina Güthlin, and Miriam König. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. July 2004, 9(6): 837-846. doi:10.1089/107555303771952181.