Use These Types of Massage for Chronic Pain


What is massage therapy?

Massage therapy is a part of complementary and integrative medicine that can help reduce muscle tension, pain, and stress. A trained and certified health professional manipulates soft tissues, including muscles, tendons and ligaments, with varying degrees of pressure and movement to increase mobility and reduce pain.

As with any treatment, consult a health care professional to ensure a massage is safe with a diagnosed medical condition, especially if pregnant or with a cancer diagnosis. If any part of a massage is uncomfortable or painful, inform the therapist immediately. Discuss the expected outcome of the massage with the therapist. Massages can be medical or relaxation-based. A medical massage addresses an issue in the body, such as chronic migraines, injury, muscle pain, back pain, etc.

Swedish massage

Swedish massage techniques do not target precise pain points or apply deep pressure. It is widely recognized as being extremely relaxing. Despite how mild Swedish massage is, it enhances blood flow and releases muscle tension. Additionally, it calms the nervous system, which can ease pain.

Trigger point massage

Also known as neuromuscular massage therapy, a trigger point massage targets areas of muscle spasms and tension in the back. Trigger points are painful “knots” — hard, palpable nodules — that can form in muscles. They are sore or painful when pressed. Trigger points develop when a muscle is unable to relax. During a trigger point massage, direct pressure is applied to those areas to increase blood flow and release the knot.

Deep tissue massage

A deep tissue massage focuses on releasing tension and tightness of the muscles and connective tissues. It involves intense pressure that manipulates deep layers to treat musculoskeletal issues. This helps ease discomfort from injuries, spasms, tension, or chronic muscle pain, while promoting healing and increasing blood flow.

Sports massage

If pain is the result of an injury or soreness due to repetitive use, such as playing sports, a sports massage may be beneficial. It involves deep pressure on specific areas or may include the entire body. A sports massage can increase flexibility, reduce pain, improve performance, and release muscle tension.

Myofascial release massage

A fascia is a band of connective tissue beneath the skin that stabilizes muscles and organs. A myofascial release massage consists of deep kneading and stretching of the fascia and muscles to release tension and tightness. It is often combined with other massage techniques to ease pain in the neck, shoulders and back.