Chronic pain is, unfortunately, a common medical problem in the United States. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about a fifth of Americans suffer from chronic pain, with more than 7% dealing with symptoms that affect their everyday lives (called high-impact chronic pain).
For years, prescription painkillers were the first-line defense against chronic pain symptoms. While these drugs may help alleviate pain, they also come with some serious side effects, including fatigue, brain fog, sleep problems, gastrointestinal discomfort, and addiction.
Today, medical professionals know there are other ways to treat chronic pain — holistic ways that tap into your body’s natural healing processes. At Body Balance Chiropractic & Wellness Center, our team uses massage therapy to treat many types of chronic pain, helping patients at our Houston, Texas, practice relieve discomfort without relying on potentially dangerous medications.
Lots of factors can contribute to chronic pain. Some people have pain from an underlying disease or medical problem, like arthritis or fibromyalgia. Others develop pain after a fall, car accident, or other injury.
Nerve damage, spine deformities, being overweight, repetitive lifting — even something as simple as poor posture can cause musculoskeletal changes that can lead to recurrent or unrelenting pain.
Chronic pain happens when nerve receptors continually send out pain signals as a result of stimulation. Sometimes, the stimulation can be traced to a physical issue, like a bone spur or cartilage damage. But other times, the specific cause can’t be determined, which makes treatment even more challenging.
No matter what causes chronic pain, the outcome tends to be the same: painful symptoms that interfere with many activities, leading to inactivity which, in turn, can make those symptoms worse. Many people find their pain interrupts their sleep, and it may even lead to excess anxiety or depression.
Most people think of massage as a way to relieve stress, and that’s absolutely one of its benefits. In fact, reducing stress and helping you relax can help reduce chronic pain symptoms by relieving muscle tension that often makes pain worse.
But stress relief is just one benefit of massage therapy. For relieving chronic pain, massage therapy works in other ways, too.
Massage uses targeted pressure on your skin and muscles. This pressure helps improve circulation by moving blood through areas of congestion, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and other injured tissues. Plus, it helps carry away toxins produced by inflammation.
By relieving muscle tension and tender “trigger points,” massage can make it easier for you to move around. Being more active can help relieve many types of chronic pain, and it can also make physical therapy more comfortable. Plus, when you can be more active, you’re less likely to feel isolated and depressed.
Pain is triggered by nerve receptors, and if your nerves are irritated by inflammation or other issues, those nerves could be working overtime. Massage helps by targeting swollen muscles that could be “pinching” your nerves. This benefit can be especially helpful in treating chronic pain in your back, neck, shoulders, or joints.
Massage stimulates nerve fibers deep below the surface of your skin. That includes nerves that are responsible for your pain, as well as “competing” nerves that aren’t involved in the pain process. There’s some evidence that stimulating these competing nerves may help block signaling from nerves involved in pain.
One of the biggest benefits of massage: Unlike many one-size-fits-all pain treatments, massage can be completely customized based on your symptoms, your underlying health issues. In fact, our providers are skilled in multiple types of massage, so they can tailor your therapy for optimal pain relief.
Massage therapy can be an excellent pain treatment on its own, but it also works well with other therapies and treatments, like physical therapy and spinal adjustment.
To learn how massage can help you manage your chronic pain symptoms or to have us develop a custom, holistic treatment plan for your overall wellness, call 281-890-5599 or book an appointment online at Body Balance Chiropractic & Wellness Center today.