How do I know whether massage will help my pain?
Massage can usually help your pain if it is caused by soft tissue damage. Recognising pain and understanding what it means can sometimes be confusing. Soft tiussue pain is usually classified as acute (sudden onset caused by an injury) or chronic. Chronic pain means that the pain has been there in excess of 6 months. It may have started as acute pain, decreased somewhat, but just never gone away completely. Massage is usually helpful or at least somewhat helpful with both acute and chronic pain. Please note, that massage is contraindicated during the INFLAMMATORY PHASE of an injury. This is usually the first 72 hours directly after an injury. Most injuries involve a large degree of soft tissue damage, but sometimes there are other tissues damaged as well such as bones or nerves, Warning bells should go off in your head if:
- There is severe weakness directly after an injury (this could mean you have partially or fully ruptured a tissue)
- You are unable to perform a movement altogether
- A limb has a funny angle (possible break or dislocation)
- There is locking or obstruction of a joint when you try to move it
For most of the following types of pain massage is usually useful: Aches, sharp pain, stabbing or throbbing pain. Nerves are also classified as a soft tissue and nerve pain has to be approached with a bit more caution. Nerves are like the electric cables that transmit messages from your brain to your limbs and organs and back again. It matters whether the nerve pain you have comes from a PERMANENT source of irritation or a TEMPORARY source of irritation. A permanent source of irritation could be a bone or a disc pressing on a nerve. An example of a temporary source is the feeling of pins and needles you may get if you sleep on your side. Temporary nerve irritation is often caused by tight muscles pressing on (irritating) nerves. Massage is very helpful for that kind of problem. Nerve damage can feel like a burning sensation (although there is no heat present). Some people feel it as prickling, tingling, pins and needles or electrical shock sensations. To be on the save side, if you have strong physical trauma such as a fall on your back that is instantly followed by extreme nerve pain and pain going into the limbs, please see a doctor as soon as possible before you try and have a massage. Want to read more? www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/pain-types-and-classifications