Pain, Pain Go Away
For people with chronic pain, massage therapy can bring real
WE'VE ALL EXPERIENCED PAIN at one time or another.
But unless you live with chronic pain, it's tough to understand how
severely it can infringe on your quality of life.
Massage therapy is one of the many treatments available for
chronic pain management. Diana L. Thompson, a licensed massage
practitioner and president of the Massage Therapy Foundation, has
seen firsthand how massage therapy can help people with chronic
She participated in a study of various treatments for lower-back
pain, including massage therapy. "With massage therapy, we were
able to see positive results after as few as eight massage
sessions," Thompson says. "And the relief continued for up to a
year after the participants stopped receiving the massages."
Another benefit of
massage therapy, Thompson points out, is the education massage
therapists can provide during a series of sessions. "We can help
people retrain their thinking so they can establish a better
relationship with their own body," she explains. "Then they can
make decisions about how to take care of themselves, such as
knowing when it's time for a massage, or to use an ice pack, or to
do some stretching exercises or just take a break."
Lower-back pain and neck pain are among the most common types of
chronic pain, but massage therapy can be beneficial for many other
issues (see "Helping Hands"). If you suffer from chronic pain, be
sure to tell your massage therapist about your condition. Share as
much information as you can about how the pain is affecting your
life, including specific activities you're having trouble with or
avoiding because of pain.
"Really think about the results of massage in terms of your
ability to participate more in your own life," Thompson says. "We
might not be able to get rid of the pain completely, but we can
help you be much more functional and comfortable in your daily
life." -By Amy Lynn Smith