Break the vicious circle of pain!
Pain is a message from your body: “Do something! There is something not OK.” Pain protects against danger or potential danger, like a wound or a hot flame. Without pain perception you would not survive.
However, your reaction on the pain can unnecessarily sustain and intensify the pain. Some muscles tighten and other ones weaken when they attempt to protect the painful place. Soon this increased muscle tension becomes chronic. It leads to a bad posture, which — in combination with the muscle tension — decreases the mobility of your joints. Certain movements become difficult or painful, so that you start avoiding them, often without realising it yourself. You exercise less, because you fear that exercise will make the pain worse or can cause damage to the painful place. The fear is the worst of these factors, because it makes your nervous system increasingly more sensitive to the pain. The pain disturbs your sleep and this makes, together with the lack of exercise, your energy level drop further. The result is more pain and depression. This is the vicious circle of pain.
Painkillers reduce the pain sensation and delay the development of a vicious circle. But once the vicious circle has closed, pain killers will not break it. Essential for breaking the vicious circle is reduction of the tension in your muscles and connective tissue, so that you can move more easily and your posture improves. Massage helps in achieving this. The increased ease of movement also reduces the fear.
Regular and varied exercise relieves and prevents pain. Do not be afraid of your pain or afraid of exercise. Listen to your body and increase the duration and intensity of the exercise in little steps. Discover how much you can do in spite of the pain.
Pain reduction through massage
Pain and increased muscle tension always go together. Muscles tighten in reaction to pain and a permanently increased muscle tension can cause pain. This way pain and muscle tension sustain each other. The tension does not stay confined to a single muscle. It spreads in other muscles and in your connective tissue. It strains your joints and affects your posture. Once the changes in the soft tissue have impaired your posture, it is not simple to reverse the process.
Therapeutic massage is — more than standard relaxation massage — targeted at relieving, stopping and preventing pain. My business Fuga Massage Therapy has as its mission the lasting reduction of its clients’ pain. In what way? In the first place you must turn upside down your way of thinking: the cause of the pain is seldom there where it hurts. But where is it then? There are several mechanisms that can cause pain at a distance of its cause. The most common ones are the following:
- there is nothing wrong with the painful spot itself, but the nervous system projects there pain from the place where the actual problem is;
- the pain originates from overload, caused by insufficient mobility at another place in the body.
Usually it is possible to track down the cause of the pain by inspection of the posture, evaluation of the results of movement tests and feeling the tension in the muscles and connective tissue. When I have developed a hypothesis about the possible causes of the pain, I apply therapeutic massage techniques or mobilisations that have an effect on the supposed causes. If the pain does not subside, I must modify my hypothesis and massage or mobilise other places. Usually this approach leads to a substantial reduction or elimination of the pain. Last but not least it is important that the client utilises the improvement obtained by the massage in daily life, for instance by more physical exercise and regular stretching of the muscles that have a tendency to shorten.