Massage therapy can help clients manage a variety of health conditions, from arthritis to chronic pain.
Dealing with these conditions, however, requires you not only to understand the health condition and its symptoms but also what information you might need to tell your therapist to make the massage session more effective.
Massage and Chronic Pain
More and more research is confirming the benefits massage therapy offers people dealing with chronic pain, whether because of injury or as a symptom of another condition. Some people who are looking to use massage to help manage pain can only come in once they’ve been cleared for massage therapy by their physician. It’s best to openly communicate any chronic pain issues with your therapist including fibromyalgia, chronic myofascial pain syndrome, and arthritis, to name just a few.
Fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain syndrome (CMPS)
According to the National Fibromyalgia Research Association, more than six million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia—90 percent of whom are women. Fibromyalgia is often characterized by numbness in the upper and lower body, joint stiffness in several areas of the body, and widespread musculoskeletal pain. The condition is diagnosed when 11 out of 18 tender points are painful to the touch, and some clients might also experience other symptoms, including headaches, anxiety, depression, and sensitivity to environmental stimulation such as bright lights, loud noises, and strong odors. Massage can help. It reduces stress, helps relieve pain, decreases feelings of anxiety, and increases general overall well-being, all of which are great for people with fibromyalgia
CMPS (Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome) typically occurs when a muscle has been contracted repetitively, often due to repetitive motions (usually from a job or hobby) or stress-related muscle tension. Those with CMPS tend to have a persistent, deep aching pain in their muscles and may have difficulty sleeping. Unlike fibromyalgia, CMPS tends to affect both genders equally. Neuromuscular therapy and Myofascial release are just some of the massage techniques that have been proven to be effective in treating CMPS.
Arthritis is characterized by an inflammation of one or more joints. The most common symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, so understanding your client’s individual pain is essential. Massage can ease your arthritis symptoms. Recent studies on the effects of massage for arthritis symptoms have shown regular use of massage therapy led to improvements in pain, stiffness, range of motion, handgrip strength, and overall function of the joints.
Whatever your chronic pain issue may be massage can be a useful tool in helping manage and reduce the day-to-day symptoms that can stop you from doing the things you enjoy.