I know it’s difficult experiencing pain, I do empathise with all of you that experience it. Our bodies are beautiful systems and are always working towards equilibrium and we put so much excess stress on our bodies on a daily basis which leads to people experiencing pain more than ever!
Pain, however, isn’t all bad. it can be your friend and for a lot of you it alreay is. Sounds crazy I know and this blog will explain why. Keep reading to find out more!
Starting with acute pain, let’s say you stub your toe on your sofa. The nerves in this area then send a signal to the brain, creating the sensation of pain and a bruise depending on how hard you hit it. After the inevitable *expletives* you know for the future that when you walk past said sofa, walk around it!
This kind of pain is very helpful in that it means that you watch out for the sofa the next time you walk past it!
I know that is a very crude example but you get the idea. The after-effects of the toe-stubbing may be bruising and an aching toe, which leads you to a professional for further treatment if needed. I am not writing all this to scare any of you! Just an example of how the body and mind are fantastic at healing, even though it is very painful sometimes.
Now, what about persistent back pain, for example, that pain that continues and irritates you every day? This is known as chronic pain. Pain such as this can be an after-effect of an accident, such as a car accident for example. The initial shock and injuries will wear off and/or heal, however, let’s say a few months on from that, there begins a pain in your shoulder, this may be due to a misaligned vertebra, pulling the muscles out of alignment.
I have treated many clients who have had one ‘side’ of their back which is tighter than the other, leading to persistent pain. The muscles start a slow ‘tug-of-war,’ pulling on each ‘side’ of the spinal column, leading the other ‘side’ to compensate. This will cause tension, and the tight and inflamed muscular fibres will put pressure on the nerve fibres. This triggers the pain response from the brain. I could go on about inflammation, but that will be a whole other topic for another blog post!
The longer the fibres stay tight, the longer the pain goes on, but do not fret! There is a solution.
Massage can and does relieve muscular tension, by gently ‘wringing’ out the muscular fibres and flushing out any tension, massage techniques release a lot of pressure on the nerves and skeletal tissue. Reducing the pain, properly and naturally.
Certain areas that the therapist (such as myself) puts pressure on will lead to pain in other areas, such as the arm. This is known as a referred pain pattern and happens because of a trigger point. Trigger points are a result of muscular tension putting pressure on a nerve fibre (see above). When pressure is applied to the trigger point area, the pain will ‘travel’ down the nerve, depending on what nerve is triggered will determine where and how bad the pain is.
Again, this is not a bad thing! After the massage session, you’ll feel rejuvenated and the tension will be significantly reduced. If it wasn’t for the pain, no one would take the initiative to seek help and therapy, whatever form it may take. Again, this sounds crude and flippant, but as always, I am encouraging you, the reader, to be pro-active if you experience any pain!
Don’t think that you can ‘stand the pain’ and be ‘tough’ as you will do more damage. As the old saying goes, you are only as strong as your weakest link, so make that link strong and the whole system gets stronger! See the quote below:
Pain is not simply a signal for tissue injury, but is primarily a signal to the organism to seek repair and recuperation. –P. D. Wall
I hope this has inspired you and opened your eyes to how amazing we are at healing.
Thank you for reading, stay tuned for future posts!
Warmest regards, James