Aches and pains are just a part of living life! Whether we experience them once in a while, or on a daily basis, one thing is for certain; they sure can take the joy out of life!
Aches and Pains
Aches and Pains
People suffer aches and pains throughout their bodies for many different reasons.
The most common causes are:
- Injury or trauma to a specific area or muscle group: Some examples of this would be heavy lifting, tripping over the dog and pulling a few muscles on the way down, or rolling your ankle at the annual family reunion soccer game.
- Repetitive Motion Injuries: Many athletes experience extreme overuse of muscles/muscle groups – like the pitcher in baseball or the avid cyclist. However, people can overuse their muscle groups on a daily basis, even if what they are doing isn’t necessarily strenuous. A great example of this would be people who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Working at a desk or computer all day where neck muscles are required to be in a state of nearly constant contraction in order for you to bend your head and neck forward slightly. After so many days in a row of sitting in this position, the muscles can actually begin to get stuck in contraction and need to be “reset” into a state where they can contract and relax normally. This is done by accessing which muscles are tight and overworked, which muscles are over-stretched and weakened, and then using various techniques to bring muscles back into balance.
- Over-straining muscles: While we may try to avoid these scenarios, sometimes they happen (out chopping wood all day, painting the living-room walls, impromptu hiking trip). The result of this is temporary injury, aches and pains. The good news is that receiving massage after these activities, or even after exercising, both speeds up the healing process of your muscles, and relieves the achiness by helping to eliminate lactic acid (metabolic waste) build-up that is a common occurrence after vigorous muscle use.
- Tension or stress in the body, including suppressed emotion: We all experience stress to some extent in our lives, and our bodies really do respond to that stress. Many people tend to hold that stress in their back and neck muscles, but the pain can be located anywhere in the body.
- Suppressing emotions, no matter what the source of those emotions, causes muscle tension. If you think about it, when you are suppressing something, you are trying to contain it and literally holding it in with your muscles. Whether you are trying not to cry, or trying not to scream, or trying to avoid dealing with the emotions altogether, your muscles/connective tissues are storing up that tension and stress. You may have heard the phrase “you have issues in your tissues”. Well, this phrase is meant quite literally, and receiving massage can help give your body a break, and allow you to access and release those emotions in a calm, relaxing environment so that you can work through them in a positive and healthy way.
Regular sessions of massage therapy will help to keep your body in balance and eliminate the constant aches and pains you are going through. Whether it’s weekly or monthly massage sessions, it’s important to invest in your health and wellness on a regular basis so that you are able to live life to the fullest!
Stress is something that everyone has to deal with. However, when it becomes consistent and prominent to the extent of overshadowing your life, and even making you sick, it is definitely time to find healthy methods of coping with it.
- Medical experts estimate that 80-90% of disease is stress-related. Some of this is based on how our bodies respond internally to stress, and some of it is based on how we choose to outwardly deal with it.
- Some internal effects of stress are increased blood pressure and heart rate which in time can lead to strokes and heart attacks. It also affects the immune system and its ability to function properly, and can even affect our ability to think clearly.
- Some of the ways people cope with stress can lead to unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, excessive drinking, drug use, overeating and/or eating unhealthy foods. These behaviors, along with the normal daily stressors, can be a lot for the body to handle. All of this adds up to an increase in your chances of becoming ill over time.
- Massage works to manage stress by decreasing levels of cortisol in the body, lowering blood pressure and by stimulating the release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. These chemical responses help create total relaxation and are the reason why many people say they feel high, amazing, peaceful, or completely at ease during and after a massage. You deserve to give your body and mind the attention and treatment needed to stay healthy and to find harmony.
Anyone who has suffered from a headache or migraine, knows how debilitating they can be. Many people suffer from headaches on a daily basis and are forced to use pain medications just to help them get through the day. More and more people have been able to find relief from these headaches by utilizing a variety of holistic approaches.
There are many different triggers for headaches and migraines. While migraines may be brought on by tense, short muscles in the head and neck, they can also be brought on by the constriction of blood vessels caused by stress and tension. In addition, research is now showing that there are many chemical changes that occur in the brain that can cause headaches.
Massage works by correcting the problem at the source by relaxing tense muscles, improving blood flow, reducing muscle spasms, and increasing relaxation within the body thereby reducing pain from tension and vascular headaches. It is very exciting when people are able to reduce the amount of pain medications they take, because their treatments have been so effective.
For those with chronic headaches, a great suggestion would be to see a chiropractor, many of whom work in conjunction with massage therapists. Combining chiropractic care with massage is an effective way to create a more permanent change in your spinal alignment and muscle health.
Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression are becoming more and more prevalent in our society. No matter what the causes of this increase, the fact is that for those who suffer from extreme anxiety and/or depression are living in a very challenging, stressful, and exhausting day-to-day struggle. Both these sufferers, and those who deal with mild anxiety and depression, all need to find ways to improve their quality of life.
Many who face these issues, have found that receiving massage on a regular basis is an effective way to help manage the emotional, mental, and physical stress they are experiencing.
Massage therapy is one of the oldest forms of medicine, and in addition to being used to help with muscle aches and pains, it has been used for its calming effects on the nervous system. Our skin has millions of nerve endings that link directly to our nervous system. During a massage, the skin is stimulated and therefore releases “feel good” chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine which helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. The release of these natural mood stabilizers, results in a feeling of general well-being and total relaxation.
Many circumstances related to depression and anxiety come from suppressed emotions or unresolved traumatic events. A massage session is a unique opportunity to address these issues in a safe, nurturing environment where you can get away from the stresses of the world and connect with your body, mind, and spirit to begin healing on all levels.
Studies actually suggest that of all therapies, massage is one of the most beneficial in treating fibromyalgia. During a massage session, the central nervous system enhances the production of certain natural pain blockers such as endorphins and serotonin, which in-turn, reduce the pain symptoms associated with this complex medical condition.
It’s incredibly important for the therapist and client to work together in finding a level of pressure that is both relaxing and pain free. Because people who suffer from fibromyalgia have many areas in the body that are very tender, and this can change at any time, the importance of consistent communication throughout the massage and even from session to session is essential.
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