Massage therapy benefits for pain syndromes are often addressed by clients and massage practitioners in a private practice or clinical setting, so it is important to understand how massage can help (and not hurt) common medical issues that many clients experience.
Many massage therapists are taking continuing education courses and integrating specialized pain syndrome modalities into their routines, which allows them to have their own "niche" massage treatment, something they have studied extensively, while also ensuring their client's get the best care possible.
However, some patients may not totally understand how massage therapy benefits affect chronic pain or medical conditions conditions.
Some therapists believe it is one of the ways we provide medical massage therapy, using trigger point release techniques to address pain.
Others think of it as advanced massage therapy, and therefore choose to study advanced specialized techniques within clinical settings such as hospitals, chiropractic clinics, or physicians' offices.
More comprehensive massage programs will teach students signs and symptoms of a variety of pain syndromes and health conditions, and the massage therapy benefits for each, enabling therapists to be equipped to help treat these issues.
Pain syndromes may develop from a muscle injury or from repetitive strain on a muscle, ligament or tendon. If nerves are trapped in damaged or inflamed muscles, the pain may radiate to another area. For instance, nerves trapped in the neck may cause pain which radiates down the arm.
Massage therapy treats pain not only at it's source, but also the areas around the primary pain origin, because nerve sensory signals often get mixed up when there is damage or inflammation.
So, you may have a painful headache over your right eye, but the actual muscle that needs to be released is on the left side of the back of the neck. Pain like this can happen when a part of the muscle fiber develops a knot, which restricts blood flow and causes pain.
Inability of the blood to flow freely causes constant contraction....and constant pain and an active trigger point. A massage therapist will use gentle pressure to release the muscle fiber restriction, create better blood flow and decrease the pain.
It will often take 2-4 sessions for the therapist to encourage all muscles around the trigger point to release and return to their normal functioning.
If you do not allow the therapist to work the affected muscles as suggested, you may have a tendency to get additional muscle tightness, causing more restrictions and future pain issues.
No matter what pain syndrome you may experience, most everyone agrees that massage helps with:
Communication between therapist and client is important as some deeper pressure may be detrimental to the client and their symptoms.
Also, studying about common pain issues gives you the opportunity to study signs and symptoms, providing more insight into the medical condition.
This book, Step-by-Step Massage Therapy Protocols for Common Conditions, includes easy to understand explanations of how massage influences the disease/condition and detailed demonstrations of many healing massage techniques.