Just about every culture in history has used massage to relieve pain. Then came the arrival of modern medicine and massage seemed to fade into the background. Many people are returning to massage therapy to manage their chronic pain.

Massage eases pain in several ways, it increases blood flow to sore, stiff joints and muscles which are warmed by the extra circulation. It also triggers the release of natural painkillers in the brain called opiods and speeds up the flow of oxytocin, a hormone that relaxes muscles and encourages feelingS of calmness and contentment.

In short, massage eases pain and decreases depression and anxiety, therefore lessening dependence on narcotics for pain relief.


CHRONIC PAIN CONDITIONS

& How Therapeutic Massage Can Help


ARTHRITIS

Arthritis is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate or severe.

Massage can ease your arthritis symptoms. Recent studies on the effects of massage for arthritis symptoms have shown regular use of the simple therapy led to improvements in pain, stiffness, range of motion, hand grip strength and overall function of the joints.


ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a type of arthritis of the spine. It causes swelling between your vertebrae, which are the disks that make up your spine, and in the joints between your spine and pelvis. Ankylosing spondylitis is an autoimmune disease. This means your immune system, which normally protects your body from infection, attacks your body's own tissues. The disease is more common and more severe in men. It often runs in families.

A massage for ankylosing spondylitis can soothe the body and help calm the mind in many ways. As is often the case with massage and arthritis, “it helps [provide] a little more mobility and relief from pain, it also helps with stress, anxiety, and depression.


BURSITIS

Bursitis is a painful condition that affects the small fluid-filled pads — called bursae — that act as cushions among your bones and the tendons and muscles near your joints. Bursitis occurs when a bursa becomes inflamed.

Gentle massage promotes healing and can help to ease the joint pain and inflammation. Typically, 5-6 minutes of light to medium pressure, followed by 5-6 minutes of slightly deeper work and friction movements will help.


CARPAL TUNNEL

Carpal Tunnel is a narrow passageway of ligament and bones at the base of your hand. It contains nerves and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the nerve to be compressed. Symptoms usually start gradually. As they worsen, grasping objects can become difficult

Massage therapy can help treat and prevent carpal tunnel syndrome by promoting circulation, relieving inflammation, aiding in removal of metabolic residues, and soothing the irritated muscles and tendons.


CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that may worsen with physical or mental activity, but doesn't improve with rest. Although there are many theories about what causes this condition — ranging from viral infections to psychological stress — in most cases the cause is still unknown. Because its symptoms are difficult to measure, CFS wasn't widely accepted as a real medical condition for several years. Today, however, doctors and researchers agree that this chronic condition should be taken seriously.

Therapeutic massage is one of the most recommended types of alternative therapies to treat the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It has proven beneficial and effective for many patients in minimizing anxiety and restlessness and in improving sleep quality.


CERVICAL DYSTONIA

Cervical Dystonia, also called spasmodic torticollis, is a painful condition in which your neck muscles contract involuntarily, causing your head to twist or turn to one side. Cervical dystonia can also cause your head to uncontrollably tilt forward or backward.

Once your doctor has ruled out non-muscular causes for torticollis, massage can be used to help relieve the spasm and pain. Your massage therapist will use a combination of heat, gentle massage, traction and passive stretching to relax the tissues of your neck.

HEADACHE

The most common type of headache is a tension headache. Tension headaches are due to tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw. They are often related to stress, depression or anxiety. You are more likely to get tension headaches if you work too much, don't get enough sleep, miss meals or use alcohol.  

A natural aid to headache treatment is with massage therapy. Massage offers two important benefits to tension headache sufferers: it may help relieve actual headache pain, and it may help prevent headaches by reducing tension and improving circulation.


HERNIATED DISC

There are many terms used to describe spinal disc pathology and associated pain, such as "herniated disc," "pinched nerve," and "bulging disc," and all are used differently and, at times, interchangeably.

If aroma oils are used along with massage therapy then this helps in cutting down the muscle spasm and thus calming down the pain in the affected region. Deep Tissue Massage and/or Trigger Point Massage works best for herniated disc based on how severe the condition is.


PINCHED NERVE

Pinched Nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues — such as bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons. This pressure disrupts the nerve's function, causing pain, tingling, numbness or weakness.

Applying pressure to the pinched nerve can help to relieve tension and reduce pain. Get a full body massage to help induce relaxation in all your muscles, relaxing the affected area as well. You can also get a gentle, targeted massage of the area near the pinched nerve. This will offer more specific relief and help the nerve to heal.


PLANTAR FASCIITIS

Plantar fasciitis is common in middle-aged people. It also occurs in younger people who are on their feet a lot, like athletes or soldiers. It can happen in one foot or both feet.

Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the ligament that supports your arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament. These can lead to pain and swelling.

Massage of the calf muscle and the Achilles heel can help reduce pain. Deep tissue massage can help to release the muscle tension, break up scar tissue, and lead to its elimination. It concentrates on specific areas, leading to soreness before and after the massage, yet the results are definite and can be felt within a couple of days. Deep tissue massage loosens the muscle tissues, removes metabolic residue, and ensure proper circulation of blood and oxygen which had been affected by plantar fasciitis.


RAYNAUD'S DISEASE

Raynaud’s Disease is a condition that causes some areas of your body — such as your fingers, toes, tip of your nose and your ears — to feel numb and cool in response to cold temperatures or stress. In Raynaud's disease, arteries that supply blood to your skin narrow, limiting blood circulation to affected areas.

Massage can help in increasing blood flow to the extremities as well as the reduction of stress with primary Raynaud's.

RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) causes a powerful urge to move your legs. Your legs become uncomfortable when you are lying down or sitting. Some people describe it as a creeping, crawling, tingling or burning sensation. Moving makes your legs feel better, but not for long.

Although there is no surefire way to get rid of RLS, massage is one of the most effective ways to deliver relief and reinstate a healthy sleep schedule.


RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory form of arthritis that causes joint pain and damage. Rheumatoid arthritis attacks the lining of your joints (synovium) causing swelling that can result in aching and throbbing and eventually deformity. Sometimes rheumatoid arthritis symptoms make even the simplest activities — such as opening a jar or taking a walk — difficult to manage.

Although there are many types of massage, only two — moderate-pressure massage and myofascial release — have research support for pain relief for RA.


SCIATICA

The term sciatica describes the symptoms of leg pain and possibly tingling, numbness or weakness that travels from the low back through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of the leg.

The techniques used for this type of massage are highly specialized. A seasoned massage therapist may be able to provide welcome relief from leg pain caused by a problem in the back.


TENDONITIS

Tendonitis is the inflammation of a tendon. Usually tendonitis is referred to by the body part involved, for example, Achilles tendinitis which affects the Achilles tendon, or patellar tendinitis which affects the patellar tendon (jumper's knee). Tendonitis can occur in various other parts of the body, including the elbow, wrist, finger, or thigh. It is caused by overusing a tendon or injuring it, as may happen during sports.

Massage for tendinitis may help relieve excessive tension and help prevent the buildup of scar tissue via hands-on manipulation of the affected area. Icing may be done before and after massage to provide optimal relief.

Restricted activity, rest, anti-inflammatory medications, elevation, compression, and splinting are the first lines of treatment for tendonitis.


THORACIC OUTLET SYNDROME

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS)consists of a group of distinct disorders involving compression at the superior thoracic outlet that affect the brachial plexus (nerves that pass into the arms from the neck), and/or the subclavian artery and vein (blood vessels that pass between the chest and upper extremity). Thoracic outlet syndrome symptoms include neck pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, and numbness and tingling of the fingers.

Massage therapy may very well alleviate your symptoms. Constant muscle tension in the neck or muscles with trigger points could compress the nerve or artery, or press them against bone. Other possible treatments should include postural retraining and structural alignment, muscle strengthening and stretching