Massage Therapy & Chronic Pain

January 02, 2020 by Jordan Nunziato

Massage Therapy & Chronic Pain

Pain is often associated with some injury or illness, and it’s assumed by many people to be a temporary state. But for some people, pain is a frequent part of their everyday lives. Chronic pain is often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks, but chronic pain can persist for months, or even years.


Add in the depression and anxiety that often accompanies having to deal with chronic pain and what you have is this: a peek at what it's like for someone who suffers from fibromyalgia or chronic myofascial pain syndrome (CMPS).


Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas, as well as sleep, memory and mood issues. Chronic myofascial pain is a kind of ongoing or longer-lasting pain that can affect the connective tissue (fascia) of a muscle or group of muscles. With myofascial pain, there are areas called trigger points. Trigger points are usually in fascia or in a tight muscle.


Studies suggest that massage therapy can increase the quality of life and decrease pain for fibromyalgia and CMPS sufferers. Anxiety levels, quality of sleep, pain and quality of life improved in patients who had received massage therapy. For a patient with CMPS, a session is typically going to last about 30 minutes to an hour and should involve deeper pressure. Massage therapists should focus on areas where the pain is most severe. There are common areas of pain and dysfunction for CMPS patients, which is usually around the joints. For fibromyalgia, massage therapists use a lighter, surface-oriented touch and doesn’t apply any pressure to the patient’s skin.


Although there is no cure for chronic pain conditions, massage therapy is one of the many options that will help manage and alleviate pain from these conditions.


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