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Massage Therapy for Pain Management

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Massage used to be thought of as a luxury. Now it’s available everywhere, from hospitals and clinics to airports and grocery stores. If you suffer from pain, massage shouldn’t be a once-in-a-while special treat, but a powerful tool that can improve your well-being and complement other therapies for pain management.

AdventHealth Sports Med and Rehab exercise physiologist, Matthew Marse, explains more about how massage can help you find the relief you deserve.

What is Massage?

“Massage is the general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. It can range from light strokes to deep pressure,” says Marse. “There are many different types of massage that can be used therapeutically to treat pain.”

Here are some of the most common massages you can consider for pain relief:

  • Deep tissue massage: Slower, more forceful strokes target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. It's often used to treat muscle damage from injuries.
  • Sports massage: Geared toward people involved in athletic activities to help prevent or treat injuries.
  • Swedish massage: A gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping. It helps you feel relaxed and re-energized.
  • Trigger point massage: Focuses on tight muscle fibers that can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse.

Benefits of Massage for Pain Management

Massage is now offered alongside standard treatment for many conditions.

“While I wouldn’t recommend using massage to replace standard medical treatment, it’s a wonderful complementary treatment to aid in your healing that can help the standard treatment work better,” says Marse.

Some of the many conditions massage may help include:

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Lower back pain
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Nerve pain
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain
  • Upper back and neck pain

The health benefits of massage are reason enough to try it. According to Marse, “Not only does massage help reduce pain, muscle soreness and tension, it can also improve circulation and immune function, add to your energy levels and make you more alert. It can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Many patients love it simply because it reduces stress and supports relaxation.”

Massage is a great supplement to decrease pain and increase your overall health. Ask your doctor or physical therapist if a regular massage regimen might be helpful for you.

Your Partners in Whole Health

If you’re experiencing pain regularly, there’s no reason to continue living that way without help. We’re here to support you and get you back to feeling like yourself again in body, mind and spirit.

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