Is Chronic Pain Taking Away Your Enjoyment in Life? Try Deep Tissue MassageJohn Stamoulos
Have you been putting up with chronic muscular pain? Are you simply adapting to what hurts in your body rather than doing something about it?
As you move through life, your body finds ways to deal with physical dysfunction. Sitting at a desk for extended periods of time? You may begin to experience swelling or discomfort in your legs or aching in your shoulders. Typing at a computer all day? Maybe your neck is stiff or your wrists and hands ache constantly. Doing manual labor that includes lifting or repetitive side motions? Your lower back may develop debilitating pain. In training as an athlete whose body is continuously stressed beyond its limits to get into shape? The muscles in legs, arms, torso can all suffer the effects of overuse.
The Issue of Chronic Pain
Overuse of or injury to muscles can cause chronic tension to develop which results in the formation of adhesions (painful, rigid tissue) in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that limit movement, cause swelling and result in discomfort.
Muscles can be repetitively contracted and overused through movements associated with work, everyday life circumstances or sports training causing pain in the muscle, sensitivity when pressure is applied and referred pain throughout the body. Stress can also result in prolonged episodes of muscle contractions that result in the same formation of painful trigger points in the muscles (often the lower back or the neck and shoulders). When trigger point pain is left untreated, it can become a chronic condition known as myofascial pain syndrome.
Relief through Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage therapy is similar to Swedish massage, but the deeper pressure is beneficial in releasing protracted muscle tension that develops from chronic pain that you have learned to live with. The focus of deep tissue massage is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons, and fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones and joints). Deep tissue massage may cause some discomfort in your stressed or strained muscles but the ultimate outcome is to heal the pain:
- It brings more blood and oxygen to the muscles to help heal any tears or other damage due to overuse or injury
- It increases circulation, reduces inflammation and relaxes muscle tension and restores flexibility and normal function
- It can relieve lower back pain due to injury or excessive strains or muscle tightness caused by stress
- All massage no matter what the technique helps promote the production of ‘feel good’ hormones that counteract the body’s painful reactions to stress
- It helps dissolve scar tissue that results from the body’s healing responses due to injury, surgery or overuse of a particular area of the body due to repetitive functions (lifting, typing etc.)
- It soothes any strains ranging from severe to mild to heal more quickly bringing an increased supply of oxygen and antibodies to the damaged muscle and/or tendon to help accelerate cellular repair and regrowth.
- It promotes the creation of cellular mitochondria that encourage healing and healthy growth within the cellular structure of the muscles.
Ultimately, deep tissue massage relaxes muscle tissue, which reduces painful contractions and spasms, reduces nerve compression and relaxes muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Chronic pain is debilitating but with regular massage treatments, it is possible to maintain a healthy and supple muscular structure in your body. Also, there are other practices that are especially effective when used in conjunction with a regular program of massage that can relieve the trigger point issue. Your therapist can suggest stretching exercises you can do at home for your specific trouble area; you can use application of heat to relax the tight muscles; becoming more conscious of proper posture can go a long way to supporting better muscular health in your body. As well, your therapist may recommend ultrasound treatments that can also be helpful for more chronic conditions such as myofascial pain syndrome.
The next time you find yourself walking sitting or standing with chronic aches or pains that you have simply accepted as the ‘new normal’ in your body, consider looking into deep tissue massage on a regular basis for therapeutic relief and healing that lasts. Your stressed and hurting muscle structure will be eternally grateful.