When we experience pain in our body, it is usually not a fun time. And yet pain is there for a reason. It is one of the ways our bodies let us know something isn’t right.
For example, if we were to step on a nail and we had no nerves in our foot, we wouldn’t know we had stepped on the nail. Think of the damage it could cause. Left unattended, infection could set in and so on. So, yes, pain is important.
Here is a definition of pain from the Merriam Webster dictionary: “basic bodily sensation that is induced by a noxious stimulus, is received by naked nerve endings, is associated with actual or potential tissue damage, is characterized by physical discomfort (such as pricking, throbbing or aching), and typically leads to evasive action.”
As annoying as it is to experience pain, it can be a necessary evil. When we go to the doctor, what’s one of the first question they ask? “What is your pain level, 1 – 10 with 10 being the worst?” I use similar questions in my office if I suspect pain is involved. It helps me determine my course of action. Even during the massage, I will ask if and how much of the massage is helping them. It helps me decide if I continue in that one area a little longer or do I move on.
I have a client who is getting ready to go to the pain specialist sometime this month. In the meantime, he has been seeing me, once a month to help him move more comfortably. Most of his pain seems to be in his low back and hip area. He tells me his massage gets him about two and a half weeks being painfree. I see him once a month. He usually comes in slightly scrunched over and walks out standing straighter.
Using massage for pain management isn’t uncommon at all. It can work well for people who are looking to avoid or put off surgery until later. Or maybe they want to avoid taking pain meds if they can.
Another client sees me every two weeks for shoulder pain. He is older now and used to be an avid racquetball player. He doesn’t play so much anymore as age and possibly lots of time on the courts have worn out his shoulders. It used to be that massage helped keep him pain-free for the two weeks. He tells me now he goes about one and a half weeks before the pain is back.
Another client has been on a statin and had a serious talk with her doctor about going off them, because of the serious side effects she was experiencing. Her doctor okayed her to stop taking them. She came to me to see if I could massage her calves as they were rock hard and she had some serious numbness in her feet. She felt her tight calves were possibly due to the statin. She did discontinue the drug the day before seeing me.
When I first started working on her calves, they were sensitive to the touch and by the end of her session, they had softened nicely. She concurred that her calves felt less tight and she was starting to get some feeling back in her feet. We are both hoping her stopping the drug and getting massages will be the ticket to her being more pain-free.
While I grant you experiencing pain is a major annoyance, try and use it as a guide to help you heal yourself.
Susan Santi is a certified massage therapist and owner of Ahhh Massage in Virginia. Feel free to contact her with questions at 218-410-2144.