Muscle Tension and Muscle Shorting
Injury, surgery, paralysis, or aging may force you to become temporarily or permanently inactive. Pain becomes noticeable when your body releases chemicals stimulating nerves to send pain messages to the brain. These messages are difficult and dangerous to ignore. You should always look for and treat the cause of your pain. Massage can relieve pains associated with inactivity and improve circulation to skin and muscles. Even immobilized areas that cannot be massaged directly can gain relief and increased circulation from a general massage. Research shows that massage promotes the release of natural pain relievers such as endorphins. Massage can also diminish the overwhelming grip of pain as you focus on the satisfying sensation of relaxation. Massage is a great supplement to the treatment of pain.
Chronic Pain and Massage
Muscles automatically contract around the pain producing site in order to support and protect the area. When pain is resolved quickly, the muscles relax again. However, if the pain continues, then muscles become routinely contracted. Occasionally, contracted muscles press on nerves causing tingling, numbness, and more pain.
After time, the body creates connective tissues throughout any contracted area with poor circulation. While helpful when healing injuries, this connective tissue can glue muscles and their connective tissue coverings into a shortened state.
Massage increases circulation – it rehydrates and softens connective tissue so it can be lengthened by kneading and stretching.
A contracted muscle cannot hold much fluid. Tight muscles reduce circulation of blood and lymph fluid. This causes waste products from inflammation and normal muscle function, to build up in your system. This toxic build up can leave you feeling sore and tired. Irritation of nerves can also occur, which causes pain to spread throughout the tense area.
Massage releases these tight muscles and pushes blood circulation towards the heart. Waste products such as lactic acid and other toxins get flushed away; they are replaced with healing oxygen and nutrients.
The increase of circulation gained during massage also drains tissues of excess fluid cause by recent injury, surgery, or pregnancy.
Shortened muscles, painful trigger points, and irritating waste products make even simple everyday actions difficult and fatiguing. As these affect your ability for movement and exercise; circulation decreases, risking pain or injury in new areas.
Massage helps restore normal movement by stretching shortened muscles, releasing trigger points, and removing waster products. Additionally, because you feel better after a massage, you may discover renewed energy and motivation of physical activity which will lead to a healthier you.
If left untreated for a long period of time, areas with poor circulation form trigger points. These are highly irritable spots that incur pain, tingling or other sensations elsewhere in the body.
Massage works well to treat trigger spots. The spots respond well to standard massage techniques such as sustained pressure, ice massage, and muscle stretching.