The Benefits of Massage for Chronic Pain

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Pain is a complex experience that varies significantly among individuals, even those with similar injuries or illnesses. It can persist for months without relief and range in intensity and duration.

Although pain is a common part of the human experience, it is often misunderstood, mismanaged, and overlooked as sufferers silently endure the burden.

Too often, unnatural, short-term solutions take precedence over long-term health considerations. Our mission is to transform pain management with natural, proven and practical approaches that do not impact long-term health.

We spoke to Urban massage therapists to hear their expert advice on the benefits of massage for chronic pain.

What are the benefits of regular massage?  

Regular massage offers a range of benefits: from better sleep to reduced muscle tension to a wider range of motion, it can help reduce anxiety and general aches and pains, and it is a great mood booster!

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How often would you recommend a massage for someone dealing with persistent pain?  

For all types of pain, it’s best to chat with your therapist, who will advise the best course of action, but typically, if the pain is due to injury, a few sessions might do the trick. A weekly or fortnightly session might be best for chronic pain related to stress and anxiety. During massage, the autonomic nervous system gets activated – this is the rest and digestive state, which helps aid recovery and healing. During the rest and digestive state, the heart rate slows, saliva secretion starts, and your body can allocate resources to digestion and restorative processes. It essentially helps to restore useful processes that are not as effective when you’re stressed, or when the body is in a fight-or-flight response.   

Can you recommend any Urban massage treatments that are effective for chronic pain relief?

It’s important to get the right massage for the type of pain you’re experiencing. For some, a relaxing de-stress massage is the best choice: longer and slower strokes, and a more gentle touch to help guide you into a super relaxed state where the rest and digest state activates and helps alleviate the pain. The pre-blended aromatherapy oils used in a de-stress massage can help you get into that relaxed state quicker. For someone experiencing stiff muscles, a deep tissue massage or a sports massage is probably the best route. A sports massage could help get to the root cause with a posture analysis and treat specific areas that cause tension.  

How does massage affect mood, and how can it assist someone in dealing with the stress of chronic pain?  

Massage helps the production of painkiller and mood booster hormones. For someone who lives with chronic pain, 60 to 90 minutes of massage can be a natural mood booster, as well as helping to treat the root of the pain. If the pain is being caused by shortened muscles, which usually occurs after long periods of inactivity like sitting at a desk or using the incorrect chair, regular appointments and some lifestyle changes can work to help ease the pain or allow the person to manage it to a more tolerable level. 

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What kind of aftercare would you recommend between massage therapy?  

Ask your therapist for aftercare advice: they can show you stretches and mobility exercises that you can use daily. They may offer self-massage techniques or recommend getting a foam roller or tennis ball to treat your trigger points. Drinking plenty of water is also necessary for the fascia (connective tissue) to move freely. You need to be well-hydrated. Avoiding alcohol and caffeinated drinks right after a massage is also key; both can lead to dehydration, so it’s best to stick to water.

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