When most people think of massage therapy, they think about something that is reserved for luxurious vacations or a pampering day at the spa. What you might not think about is how beneficial massage can be for many people in their everyday life, especially those who are managing chronic pain. Today many people take part in massage—and not just the spa treatment variety—to help with chronic pain. Massage may not necessarily take the place of other more traditional medical treatment options, but it can be beneficial to add to an overall pain management plan. Here’s why.
During massage, your body will release serotonin, a chemical found in the human body that is used as a neurotransmitter and is thought to be a natural anti-pain chemical. It also doesn’t come with the risks or side effects that some over-the-counter medications or prescription opioid pain relief can cause.
Deep, Restorative Sleep
A favorite saying of many doctors is that “sleep is medicine”. Getting enough sleep has tons of benefits for your body, ranging from feeling better and being more alert to regulating appetite and even reducing pain. Even if you are in bed for several hours each night, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting the type of sleep your body needs to heal. A lack of deep, restorative sleep (often called REM, or rapid eye movement sleep) might be aggravating your pain or preventing your body from feeling better. Massage can help you relax, helping to increase your body’s ability to get deep sleep.
Improved Fitness and Physical Function
Studies in two groups of people with the chronic pain conditions fibromyalgia and arthritis showed that massage therapy helped improve pain, reduce stiffness, and increase the physical function of those who received it on a regular basis—as evidenced by their ability to walk a distance of 50 feet in a shorter time period and while reporting less pain. Arthritis sufferers also reported that they had better grip strength and lower instances of anxiety and depression when participating in regular massage.
Reduced Anxiety and Improved Mood
The relaxation that you can achieve with massage can also help reduce anxiety and depression, conditions often associated with chronic pain. In fact, in studies conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association, patients rated massage just as high or higher than medications for its ability to provide pain relief.
Massage therapy is beneficial as part of a whole-body approach to pain management. Studies have shown it to be highly effective in helping manage chronic pain associated with arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and other similar conditions. The great news is that you don’t even have to schedule long blocks of time for your massages—many patients see benefits with as little as one to two 20-minute massages each week.
To find out more about how massage can help with your chronic pain and how it can be incorporated with other treatments from your chiropractor, visit Apollo Chiropractor today or see other areas that we serve in Salt Lake City, Murray, Holladay and Midvale.