Fact: It is estimated that between 35-43% of the UK population suffer from chronic pain, that’s 28 million people. It accounts for 40% of time off work and costs the NHS over £10 billion pounds a year.
Chronic pain is one of the most common reasons why people visit us at Mend Physio accounting for up to 40% of visits.
What is massage therapy?
Our massage therapists here at Mend have received skilled instruction in the manual manipulation of the body’s soft tissues. They are highly knowledgeable about anatomy and physiology and are very skilled when it comes to the management and treatment of chronic pain.
The underlying idea behind massage therapy is that a relaxed muscular structure promotes the flow of energy through the body, which enables the body to maintain health and heal itself. Here are some common massage therapy modalities used in the treatment of complex pain issues and connective tissue realignment:
Trigger Point Therapy and Myofascial Release
A trigger point is a small area of tightly bound and ‘knotted’ muscle that will refer pain into another part of the body when pressed upon. For example, a trigger point in the upper back can produce headache-like pain at the base of the skull therfore trigger points such as these are often misdiagnosed as migraines. Trigger points range in severity from mildly annoying to completely debilitative. The affected muscle fibres are in a permanently shortened and tense state. Massage therapy treats these by the application of pressure directly to the trigger point, going over time from light to very deep, (usually within the same session) whereupon the trigger point will begin to release and relax. Follow-up treatment is nearly always needed to retrain the muscle fibers to lengthen and “smooth” back out.
Myofascial release is a broader application of this type of therapy that seeks to restore mobility and function to the body’s underlying network of connective tissue that is present in every muscle in the body. It improves lymph circulation (keeping the blood clean) and enhances the muscle’s natural stretch reflex, keeping the body supple and strong.
It should be noted that these types of massage therapy are not the same as a relaxing massage and can sometimes be quite painful as the body relaxes. It’s important to communicate to us during your treatment if you are uncomfortable at any time.
As the name implies, sports massage is focused on the athlete. From the highest level of competition, to the casual weekend warrior. Sports massage focuses on both pre- and post- event training and recovery.
Pre- event for example, may involve stimulating a stretch reflex in the quadriceps muscle of a runner to help lengthen her stride, with repeated treatments resulting in a faster runner who is less prone to injury.
Post-event can take the form of a light, relaxing massage to stimulate healing blood flow to an overused muscle group, enabling the athlete to recover safer and faster, and enable them to perform at the top of their game sooner than otherwise would be the case.
Rather than a specific technique as in trigger point or myofascial therapies, sport massage focuses on the dual goals of athletic performance and recovery and may borrow heavily on other modalities to achieve these ends.
The tip of the proverbial iceberg…
The above is by no means a comprehensive list of massage therapy modalities. There are literally dozens of different types of massage, used in everything from lymphatic drainage, body realignment, even neuromuscular therapy that seeks to balance the nervous system.
If you’d like to go into greater detail on these and other modalities, and to get the latest, most cutting-edge information on the art and science of massage therapy, pain relief and injury prevention, then please click this link to sign up for our clinic newsletter (we’ll also include details of any offers or special massage packages where relevant). https://www.co-kinetic.com/landing/page?user_id=7821&campaign_id=793