The Role of Massage Therapy in Pain Management

Admin/ November 20, 2023/ Health & Wellness/ 0 comments

Pain is the most common reason people seek medical attention. It accounts for 80 percent of all physician visits. Pain is also the leading cause of disability in the United States. It is estimated that 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. In addition, a large number of people are prescribed opioid medications to manage their pain. However, prescription opioids carry a significant risk of addiction, abuse and overdose. It is critical for individuals and health care organizations to explore alternative methods of pain management.

One of those methods is massage therapy. It has been used in many cultures throughout history to promote healing and improve health-related quality of life. Research supports the effectiveness of massage therapy for pain relief, anxiety and improving overall functioning.

According to a recent study, massage is an effective and safe pain management tool in the hospital setting. It can help patients achieve a better sleep pattern, improve their ability to relax and reduce their emotional distress. It can also help to break the cycle of pain by reducing inflammation and releasing endorphins.

Massage can take the form of a light touch or deep pressure. There are several different types of massage: Swedish, chair, deep tissue and acupressure. The most important factor in determining which type of massage to choose is the patient’s needs. A reputable massage practitioner will ask the patient about his or her medical condition and will be able to recommend a specific type of massage based on that information.

The basic theory behind the effectiveness of massage therapy in treating pain is that it can “close the gate” to noxious sensory signals by stimulating competing nerve fibers and impeding the transmission of painful signals to and from the brain. In addition, massage can help to modulate inflammatory mediators such as cytokines that can contribute to the inflammatory response that causes pain.

In addition to the clinical evidence supporting massage as an effective pain management strategy, there is also considerable patient satisfaction with the therapy. In fact, in one study of hospitalized cancer patients, participants reported that the use of massage therapy improved their quality of life.

The benefits of massage therapy can be a valuable complement to other treatment options for pain and may be particularly useful in the hospital setting where many patients are highly sensitive to touch. Unlike many other treatments, such as injections or surgery, which have been associated with negative side effects, massage is safe and virtually risk-free when administered by an experienced, licensed massage therapist. Only a few cases of serious injury have been reported, most notably in those who receive massage from unlicensed or unskilled practitioners. These incidents are usually the result of a vigorous or inappropriate technique or from a non-licensed person such as an amateur family member. For these reasons, the American Massage Therapy Association recommends that only an appropriately trained professional should perform massage. For more details on pain management visit

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