How to live healthy with chronic pain | Ridley-Lowell Business & Technical Institute

How to live healthy with chronic pain

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Massage Therapy EDU moment by Kelly McCaffrey, LMT

Have you ever woken up in the morning and felt an area of your body that is tense, stiff or in pain? Your mind and body are saying “you again?” This is one example of chronic pain.

There are many reasons that cause people to have chronic pain; car accidents, repetitive stress injuries, illness, poor posture habits and more. Many people live day in and day out trying to ignore the nagging tension in their neck or the ache in their low back. Massage can help.

To understand pain in the body, let’s look at few things. What caused the pain (injury, trauma, illness)? When did the pain begin and how long have you felt it? Does the pain radiate? Or is the pain in a local area? What makes the pain better or worse?

Now let’s think about how the body functions. The main goal of our body is to maintain a level of homeostasis (or a state of equilibrium of the body). Our body wants to run like a tight ship, engine humming, all the gears are oiled and it’s full steam ahead.

When our nervous system receives a message of pain, we begin to slow the ship and look to the malfunction. The body will begin to tense its muscles of the surrounding area of pain, guarding and bracing the area in a defense mechanism. At first, pain is a positive warning, something isn’t functioning efficiently and you need to look at why.

Then comes life…the kids, your career, the house, the laundry, etc. We ignore the warning and before you know it, you can’t turn your neck and you can’t stand up straight. Now your body has gotten your attention.

So what now? Massage therapy is one of the leading therapies that will help with chronic pain or tension in the body. Massage therapy calms down the nervous system by increasing circulation of blood, decreasing muscles spasms, and helping with circulation of the lymphatic system. Another benefit is increasing the body mind connection, becoming aware of areas of tension and practicing on letting those areas release and let go of stress or tension.

Therapeutic massage can be in the form of a 90 minute massage session down to a 10 minute chair massage. There are many types of therapeutic massage; Swedish, Deep Tissue, Orthopedic Massage, Acupressure and many more. Finding out the type of massage that works for you and the length of time needed is a discussion to have with a Licensed Massage Therapist. Developing a routine for receiving massage therapy on a regular basis will help keep chronic pain and tension at bay. This way you can keep your body in ship shape and ready for your daily journey in life.

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