Massage Therapy as an Option for Pain Relief and Management

massage therapistAre you experiencing chronic pain? Have you considered therapeutic massage to manage or alleviate your pain? Massage therapy has been shown to be of benefit for many people suffering with a variety of issues, which includes chronic pain and stress.

Types of Chronic Pain

According to a National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health report, many workers in the United States claim to experience work-related stress. When surveyed, 40% of the workers claimed that their stress levels ranged from “very to extremely stressful.”

On-going stress at work can potentially contribute to, or exacerbate, a variety of issues that result in chronic pain. In a workforce survey, 12.7%, for example, claimed that in the two weeks prior to this survey, they were less productive or unable to function optimally at work. In addition to workplace stress, workers also experienced arthritis and other musculoskeletal pain, back pain, and headaches that affected the quality of their work and their production levels.

In addition to workplace stress, individuals reported suffering the following percentages of chronic pain:

  • Headache: 5.4%
  • Back pain: 3.2%
  • Arthritis pain: 2%
  • Other musculoskeletal pain: 2%

Effects of Chronic Pain

Unfortunately, chronic pain is quite common. It can make a major impact on the quality of a person’s day-to-day life and overall well-being. In a recent survey, 59% of the people polled claimed that chronic pain also prevented them from enjoying life.

Six-out-of-ten people in this survey said that on a daily basis, they experienced breakthrough pain at least once a day. Many experienced it even more often.

Over half of the people surveyed claimed they were unable to control their pain. In some cases, these individuals indicated that on occasion, they had a small amount of control. As a result, it is not surprising that chronic pain can lead to feelings of depression. This was the case with 77% of the respondents in this survey.

The Potential Benefits of Therapeutic Massage

Many people are curious about the health and therapeutic benefits of massage. During the period of July 2014 to July 2015, there were approximately 39.1 people in the United States that had at least one massage.

During July 2014 through July 2015, 33% of the people that had massages did so to assist with relaxation and stress reduction. During this same time period, 52% had massages for these medical and/or health issues:

  • Pain management
  • Muscle soreness
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Injury rehabilitation
  • Overall wellness

When surveyed, 91% of the individuals that visited a massage therapist claimed massage had been effective in reducing or managing their pain.

Physician Recommendations

Many physicians and other medical professionals realize the benefits of therapeutic massage. As a result, they have recommended it to assist with managing and relieving pain. Furthermore, more people are choosing to discuss this healthcare treatment option with their physicians.

In July 2015, for example, 51 million adults claimed to have discussed massage therapy with their health providers or physicians over the past year. When responding to patient or client concerns, the following types of health providers recommended seeking the services of a massage therapist:

  • Physicians: 54%
  • Chiropractors: 46%
  • Physical therapists: 37%

It is interesting to note, however, that these figures are slightly lower than recommendations made in 2014. While the reasons for this may vary, it’s possible that more individuals are aware of the benefits of therapeutic massage and have sought the services of a massage therapist without needing, or seeking, a recommendation.

Medical and healthcare recommendations for July 2014 are as follows:

  • Physicians: 59%
  • Chiropractors: 49%
  • Physical therapists: 43%

What is the best massage? While defining this will vary from person-to-person, once you experience a therapeutic massage, you will be able to determine the effect it has on you personally. When you suffer from chronic pain, your medical healthcare professional may recommend that you visit a massage therapist for treatment.