With September being Pain Awareness Month, it’s high time that you kick chronic pain to the curb. If you’ve had limited success with medication, consider adding an alternative approach to your treatment plan. Massage therapy has proven useful for many chronic pain sufferers, who enjoy not only physical relief, but also numerous mental benefits.
Massage Therapy: More Effective Than Standard Medication?
Most people recognize that massage therapy can deliver powerful benefits to those who struggle with both acute and chronic pain. What they don’t realize, however, is that it may actually be more effective than medication. This is great news, for, while pain medication often leads to multiple adverse side effects, few patients who receive massages experience negative side effects.
In a landmark study conducted at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, patients who experienced multiple incisions reported that massage dramatically reduced pain. On the days in which they received massages, their need for medication dropped dramatically. Another study found that massage therapy delivered the greatest pain relief for 28 percent of patients. When combined, massage therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care proved more popular than traditional medication therapy.
Although massage therapy can prove effective on its own, it imparts the greatest benefits when used in conjunction with other treatments. Many enthusiasts combine massage with heat therapy, exercise, acupuncture, and anti-inflammatory medications. A multifaceted approach is the most likely to deliver both mental and physical relief.
Short-Term and Long-Term Relief
Studies indicate that massage therapy is most effective for short-term pain relief. This short-term relief is supplied not only by the physical targeting of problematic areas, but also by the mental benefits massage imparts. For clients experiencing these mental benefits, the perception of pain can be alleviated during and immediately after each massage. This pain relief is aided by the release of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin, which behaves as a mood stabilizer. Thus, massage can ease the anxiety associated with chronic pain, along with the pain itself.
The benefits of massage therapy for pain often extend beyond the short-term to include long-term relief. In the Archives of Internal Medicine, experts claim that massage delivers long-lasting relief to those suffering from chronic lower back pain. Research also suggests that massage can reduce the frequency of chronic tension headaches. Most patients must continue to receive massages regularly to enjoy its pain management benefits, but since massages are so relaxing and enjoyable, they are happy to continue scheduling massage appointments.
One of the chief goals of Globe University’s massage therapy program is to deliver physical and mental relief to those who need it most. When pain flares up, one of the best sources of relief is massage therapy, which can spell the difference between agony and comfort.
For more reading on massage therapy, check out these blog posts from Globe University: