Pain Relief through Massage – the Healthy Alternative to Painkillers

Everyone deals with pain differently, be it acute or chronic pain. However, the first thing anyone would likely resort to is a painkiller. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, are sold over the counter and they can even be used by professional athletes without the risk of failing anti-drug tests.

Pain Relief through Massage - the Healthy Alternative to Painkillers

Even if there is a large variety of NSAIDs on the market, and you do not need a doctor’s prescription to buy them, it does not mean that they are 100% safe. Every kind of drug has rare and unexpected side effects, and can be allergic to certain people. Allergic reactions to NSAIDs can vary from a mild rash to sleepiness, dizziness, and various other unpleasant or dangerous reactions.


So, if drugs are not really safe, what is the alternative to dealing with pain? The answer is a technique developed and used by people for nearly four millennia: massage. Massage had started out as a relaxation technique, but by the time Hippocrates wrote the oath doctors still take at the present, it was recognised as a therapeutic activity.


So, how can massage help you deal with pain? Here are a few thoughts on the matter:


  1. Blood Flow Stimulation

Through the application of pressure over an injured area, the massage therapist encourages blood flow. An inflammation, accompanied by pain, usually occurs when there is a strangulation in the proper blood flow in the respective area. Thus, the muscle and tendon fibres do not receive the needed flow of oxygen which is critical to the proper functioning of our entire body.


Pain caused by sprain, dead leg, plantar fasciitis or other injuries which cause inflammation, can be reduced through massage.


  1. Massage Stimulates Muscle Flexibility

Throughout the rest and recovery period after an injury, you will not exercise the injured leg or arm at all. This will cause the muscles to lose their flexibility and endurance to effort. Once you start exercising again, you will experience more pain as your injured member is retrained to gain its flexibility and strength.


You can avoid these inconveniences by adding massage therapy to your recovery plan, both as a pain relief technique and as a way of keeping your muscle flexible and prepared for the moment when you are allowed to get back on the running track.


  1. Massage Prevents the Formation of Scar Tissue

One of the problems associated with the healing of muscle rupture is the formation of scar tissue. Scar tissues are problematic because they will reduce your overall flexibility and prevent you from regaining your initial level of performance. They are also one of the causes of chronic pain in the area of the injury. Massage is proven to prevent the formation of scar tissue by continually stimulating blood flow and the correct regeneration of the muscle or fibre tissue.


  1. Massage Is Ideal for Chronic Pain Treatment

Let us now address one of the most sensitive topics: chronic pain. Neck pain and lower back pain are among the most frequent types of chronic pain. Massage therapy is one of the most efficient approaches to help patients improve their quality of life, regain their mobility, and have less episodes of pain to deal with.


In an age when painkillers are easily available to anyone, there are healthy and safe approaches to dealing with pain that you need to be aware of. Massage is one of these approaches and it is a highly effective one, both for professional athletes and people who exercise in the attempt of staying fit and healthy.



Pain Relief After Running Injuries

Today we will talk about pain management after sustaining a running injury. We will not discuss pain tolerance levels and other abstract notions like this. Instead, we will try to discuss what options you have, how and when to apply them, and how to reach full recovery with minimum stress.


Pain is the universal signal that something is wrong inside our body. We understand it even before we learn how to walk and talk. As we grow older, we can differentiate between a small jolt of pain and ongoing chronic pain, and we act instinctively by stopping doing whatever movement or activity which causes pain.

Pain Relief After Running InjuriesUnfortunately, professional athletes and ambitious people who want to reach a superior fitness level fast will ignore the first signs that something is wrong. This is how severe injuries are caused and this is the number one cause of major pain. By major pain, we understand a level of pain that prevents you from walking properly or even moving your legs at all.


So, what are your options for pain relief after you have sustained a running injury? Theses are the main solutions available to you:


  1. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs such as ibuprofen can be purchased over the counter from any drug store. However, the opportunity to take it and the dosage should be prescribed by your doctor, especially if you are a professional athlete.


As many professional coaches and doctors point out, NSAIDs may actually prolong the recovery period. As far-fetched as it seems, taking ibuprofen after each and every case of inflammation in the muscles and tendons may teach your body to expect anti-inflammatory treatment from the outside, rather than heal itself naturally. On another note, inflammation usually occurs in response to harmful stimuli to the muscle. By removing it, those harmful stimuli get a free pass to act and damage your muscles.


Leaving these technicalities aside, if pain has reached your intolerance level, you should ask your doctor to prescribe painkillers for a few days and you can safely take NSAIDs for the first 2-3 days after the injury.


  1. Ice Packs

Ice packs are a safer alternative to painkillers because they act from the outside onto the precise area of the injury. The sudden decrease in temperature causes your nerves to become numb, thus you no longer feel the pain, and offers relief from inflammation and swelling.


Ice pack applications should be closely monitored, however. You should not leave an ice pack on for more than 20 minutes, otherwise you may give yourself a frost bite. And in no case should you apply the ice pack directly onto the skin: either wrap it in a towel or pull your trouser leg down.


  1. Spray/Cream Against Pain

You see these products in action during televised sports events, especially football. When a player is injured, the team doctor quickly sprays the injured knee or ankle and the player is as good as new. Actually, the spray only numbs the pain for a period of time. If you are certain that you do not want to take pain relief medication orally, this is the best alternative you have. However, you should still ask your doctor to prescribe you these products as well.


  1. Massage/Stretching

As improbable as it sounds, gentle pressure applied onto the muscles helps relieve tension, improves blood flow and thus reduces the conditions which cause the pain. However, you should hire a licensed professional to perform the massage and ask your physical therapist to suggest the stretching exercises recommended for your type of injury.


As a final thought, remember that you should always pay attention to the signals your body is sending you. A mild jolt of pain is the first sign of injury. The sooner you see your physio, the simpler the treatment – and the less your need for pain relief medication.

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