Pain can be felt acutely such as when we stub a toe, fall down, or get a cut. It can also be a lingering, underlying feeling that may be hard for even the person feeling pain to pinpoint or identify. Massage therapy is not a substitute for care from a physician and serious pain should always be evaluated by a doctor. Here are some signs and symptoms your massage therapist may use however to help identify whether you are feeling pain and to help you feel better through massage.
Verbal Signs of Pain
A client may use words or phrases that can clue in a therapist to types of pain their client may be feeling. Phrases like, “I haven’t been sleeping well lately” or “I have had a lot on my mind”, may clue in a therapist to possible feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression in the client. A client mentioning nausea, diarrhea, or stomach upset may also indicate extra stressors that are causing these troubling symptoms. Indicating how you are feeling to your massage therapist can help them plan your massage treatment in a way that will be the most beneficial for painful symptoms.
Non-Verbal Indicators of Pain
Sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint where you are hurting, you just know that something is not right. Moaning, facial griming, constant repositioning to get comfortable, and tense muscles are indicators that a person is experiencing pain in a part of their body. Your massage therapist is trained to look for these indicators of discomfort, but if you are able it is also helpful to verbalize if a specific massage technique is uncomfortable or if the therapist has uncovered a source of pain.
Massage therapy can help relieve pain of all types, since massage releases soothing endorphins while also lowering the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Exposure to cortisol over a long period of time can cause inflammation, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and insomnia so a massage can help you restore your body to a more relaxed baseline.