Living with pain

Living with pain

My massage room has a lovely quote which reads “Embrace and love your body. It’s the most amazing thing you will ever own.”

Our body does amazing things for us that even medical science is still discovering. Our body wants us to be 100% healthy at all times. It finds ways to naturally repair and heal us. Feeling pain is like an alarm bell ringing, a signal sent through our nervous system to our brain, warning us that something is not quite right. If we ignore and don’t listen to our body telling us something is wrong, then acute pain that can last up to six months or chronic pain that can last for years can start to take over our lives.

My clients openly discuss their physical pains from perhaps an injury or illness which massage therapy is hugely beneficial in managing. There are different types of physical pain. To be brief, nociceptive pain is caused by tissue damage from an external injury to the body. Radicular pain is caused by an irritable sciatic nerve which can send shooting pains anywhere from the lumbar area to the feet. Neuropathic pain is caused by the nervous system affecting mobility in some way, and chronic illness can cause pain from poor health.

How many of you would consider stress, anxiety and depression as pain? Well, it is the most ticked box on my consultation form and clients find it harder to discuss than their physical pain, yet stress, anxiety and depression are forms of emotional pain triggered from the same place in the brain as physical pain which massage therapy is also hugely beneficial in managing. I became a massage therapist because I discovered first-hand how having massage lowered my very high stress levels and calmed my Crohn’s flares. My condition is exacerbated by stress, so the emotional pain sets off the physical pain. If you explore the world of massage therapy and make massage a regular part of your life, you can get well and keep well and healthy.

Massage gives you a healthy mind, body and spirit. When these are all connected as one, we are whole physically and mentally. Emotional pain can sometimes be more harmful than physical pain and more long-term. The two forms of long-term physical and emotional pain can also connect as when one arises it can trigger the other. Our body can become sick and diseased as emotional pain can disrupt the immune system. A lot of my clients have tension from excessive contraction of the muscles caused from a build-up of emotional or physical stresses in the body. This in turn presents bad posture. Massage relaxes and loosens rigid muscles making them more pliable and easier to knead, releasing tension. When massaging connective tissue, around joints and into ligaments and tendons, pain is freed and mobility is improved. Establishing the causes of long-term pain as emotional or physical can greatly improve a clients mindset and wellbeing.

Sometimes long-term pain can be difficult to find. The root cause of physical pain may be hidden in the body and need investigation and the root cause of emotional pain may go a lot deeper than first thought. Being open to discussion and trusting your massage therapist can establish better management of your pain and help you not to become consumed by it. Massage can take your mind away from pain and give your body a positive boost, even if it is just while you are lying on the couch. You mustn’t allow yourself to become a victim of pain. You must find ways to combat your pain and motivate your mindset. Always remember the mind, body, and soul connection.

Living with body pain for years can damage our mental health and in turn dampen our spirit making us depressed if we are not careful. Giving yourself the time to go for a massage will improve your physical pain and strengthen your thoughts to deal and cope with pain. You can learn to be happy and not judgemental of your body in the present moment, clear your mind of negative thoughts, focus on hope instead of the pain and re-energise yourself. Massage can uplift and help speed up healing and recovery. Having a massage allows you to bring awareness to your body, whether it is sick or healthy, allowing you to centre and ground yourself to any physical and emotional pain. Your senses are evoked with nice candles, warm massage oils, soft music and touch. Your experience of pain and managing it is unique to you. As you are being massaged, your pain becomes less and less, your body and mind go into a state of relaxation and you are not consumed by pain anymore. Massage releases feel-good chemicals to the brain helping us cope better with pain. It calms the nervous system by blocking pain receptors that travel from the brain to the affected areas. It lowers blood pressure which in turn lowers stress and anxiety and decreases pain. It improves blood and lymph circulation which heals and repairs pain quickly and efficiently. It boosts immune function which prevents disease and pain. Regular massage can improve your tolerance and coping mechanisms to physical and emotional pain.

Massage has only positive outcomes. If massage cannot rid you completely from pain, which hopefully it can, it will always help you to manage pain effectively. Living with long term pain can be challenging. There are lots of different massage therapies that can support you along the way.