Hurt so good. . .
In the coming weeks, I am going to address physical pain therapies.
Okay, so what is pain?
Pain is the body’s way of letting you know something is wrong. Pain occurs in many different ways and on many levels. Because pain is such a subjective concept, this article will focus on what I see in my practice.
Generally, my patients experience one of the following four types of pain:
- Back pain
- Sore muscles
- Joint pain
Category One, back pain. . .
Backaches, pain, muscle stiffness and/or soreness are so common that I’m surprised when someone doesn’t mention one of these on their new patient intake form. The thing that’s really amazing to me, after all these years in practice, is the fact that massage therapy is still considered a last resort treatment. When you think about it this makes sense because we are indoctrinated with obtaining instant relief. I call it the “add water and stir solution”. It’s much easier to take something for your pain than address the cause. Let’s face it we all do it.
About 80 percent of what I do is educate my clientele.
Here’s today’s lesson….
Unless you have experienced some form of extreme trauma or have been diagnosed for a surgical procedure, massage therapy can give you relief from common backaches. Period. Plus, if you receive massage therapy on a regular basis, you will experience what is known as being pain free. What a concept, right? The transition occurs because most back pain comes from muscles being sore. Manual manipulation of these muscles literally “works“ the soreness out.
Let me explain what’s happening here. . .
When a massage therapist is kneading your back, you may experience some pain. Most of the time this is what is called a “feel good“ pain. This level of pain is experienced when the therapy is occurring. It is a distinctly different pain than the hurt that brought you to the therapist (I think you all know what I mean). The muscles are being forced to give up the “bad hurt,” let go and relax. You see, the muscle can only do one thing at a time — can only send one signal at a time. The brain gets confused when the muscle stops sending the "tighten up" signal, but begins instead to send a, “hey this feels good in an almost masochistic way,” signal. Repeating the therapeutic process over an extended period of time trains the muscle to permanently let go of the “bad hurt.” The new, pain free experience sets in because the muscle gradually stops sending the "tighten up" message to the brain.
What if your back pain persists?
For those with more severe back pain, there are different modalities that may offer some help. Craniosacral therapy, myofascia release and acupuncture all are excellent treatments for tougher types of problems. If these treatments don’t help then try an over the counter remedy. I recommend plain ordinary aspirin first and follow the directions closely. Move up to the dangerous stuff slowly and only if you’re not feeling better. See your doctor if the pain continues to worsen over time.
Practice makes permanent
The best thing you can do for your body is to practice prevention. Staying physically active is the most beneficial preventative habit. Working on core strength and balance may seem like it is just another fad, but there is proof that it pays off. Research shows a significant reduction in back pain and back related problems in people who are active and indulge in strengthening their abdominals.
I think this takes care of Category One. If you have a question, submit it in the comment section. In the meantime, stay tuned for more discussions and suggestions for relieving the most common types of pain.
peace and love,