You will encounter many different forms of massage depending where around the world you travel. However in this modern age, you can probably find all significant forms of massage within a close proximity.
What Causes Chronic Pain and What Can Be Done About It?
Do you suffer from chronic pain or perhaps know someone who does? Have you ever experienced it or learned first hand what it’s like to go through a day with it? Chronic pain is often a turmoil that you go through from the moment you wake up in the morning up until you go to sleep at night and the worst part of it all is that you typically have it on several parts of your body.
To make matters even worse, chronic pain is often accompanied by depression and anxiety making your suffering no longer merely physical but mental as well. In medical terms, these are called fibromyalgia and the dreaded chronic myofascial pain syndrome, or CMPS for short.
It is also unfortunate that the cause of this is still unknown, but what researchers are learning, is how a great massage has been proven to be able to assist someone suffering from fibromyalgia and CMPS to help manage the pain.
A Brief Look Into The Conditions of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Since there are different conditions that come from both fibromyalgia and CMPS, though both have the symptoms of pain, it is important to be able to diagnose each of them separately.
Some of the recognizable symptoms of fibromyalgia include headaches and migraines, numbness all over the body, stiffness in your joints over the different parts of your body, as well as irritable bowel syndrome. Fibromyalgia is typically diagnosed as a result of a pain test where there are 11 out of 18 tender points that are painful to the touch. Usually, patients tend to complain of pain in the neck and in the lower back. Sometimes, the conditions also include musculoskeletal pain with the sense of feeling much like pins and needles which is known as paresthesia, which happens when there is a change in pressure or damage to the peripheral nerves. Another typical symptom is the recurring feeling of exhaustion. In general terms, people who suffer from fibromyalgia have acute superficial tender spots around their bodies and fatigue.
Findings conducted by the National Fibromyalgia Research Association tells us that more than 6 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 55 suffer from fibromyalgia. What is astonishing is that 90% of these Americans are women. Furthermore, 25% to 55% of these people also suffer from lupus and spinal arthritis, as well as rheumatoid arthritis.
In terms of the symptoms associated with Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome, they often come after a person has recently suffered from an injury. It happens after a muscle has been contracted repeatedly. These can come from sports or jobs that require repetitive movement. Other common symptoms include an increase and decrease in body heat, excessive sweating, lacrimation, deep aching of the muscles, and complications with the vasomotor. People who suffer from CMPS more often than not also have prolonged deep painful trigger points with desensitized nerve endings. However, one major difference between fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain syndrome, is that CMPS attacks both genders equally as opposed to the larger percentage falling on women.
Helpful Advice For Massage Therapists Who Treat Fibromyalgia and CMPS
A doctor from the Georgia Massage Institute who suffers from both fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain syndrome says that it is very important for your massage therapist to know the difference between the two as not knowing may lead to a misdiagnosis or worse, other problems resulting from wrong treatment. It is because of this that it is highly recommended that your massage therapist be in constant communications with your doctor. By doing so, they will receive current and accurate information in relation to the diagnosis and the disease. A lack of this information would make it highly unlikely that they would be able to provide you with a treatment that would truly be beneficial for your needs.
To be more specific, here is an example. A person who is suffering from fibromyalgia will require different pressure than a person suffering from CMPS, and the difference is not that slim. In fact, a person suffering from CMPS will require the deepest pressure while a person suffering from fibromyalgia will only need the most gentle and light touch.
The plus for massage therapists though is that their clients will come in to see them with some form of diagnoses already. They are aware of their symptoms and can help explain what they are going through. But the challenge for the massage therapist is knowing what these diagnoses mean and what they involve for each individual client. They would need to know where it hurts the most, what other treatments they are receiving, etc. It is best for massage therapists to know what exactly they would need to do in order to treat the condition in the most effective manner.
Initial appointments often involve doing a thorough written health history. After the client writes down his or her health history, the massage therapist should sit together with the patient and discuss the details while writing it down. This should be conducted prior to every session and not merely the first time you meet. It is also often asked to measure the pain level on a scale of 1 to 10 in order to properly identify the severity of the pain on that day as compared to previous days or sessions together. Massage therapists will also benefit by asking their clients how they feel immediately after the session as well as for the days to come. If there is no relief being experienced, then perhaps the therapy is not going in the right direction. However, if the patient does feel better, then he or she and the therapist know that they are at the very least on the right track.
A Day In The Life Of A Massage Therapist And A Fibromyalgia or Chronic Myofascial Pain Disorder Patient
For patients who suffer from CMPS, sessions with massage therapists last roughly half an hour long. The pressure applied to the patient is typically deep and is best when focused on the area of the body that has the highest level of pain. These areas are more often than not found in places around the joints. However, it must be noted that by applying deep pressure, the massage therapist him or herself may find themselves fatigued as a result and would need to learn how to apply deep pressure without tiring themselves out too quickly. One recommended technique that can be used as an alternative would be to use their elbows.
As for working with clients who suffer from fibromyalgia, as mentioned earlier, it is best to apply pressure using the lightest of touches. It is recommended to use touches that are surface oriented without applying any pressure on the clients skin. By working at the top of the skin you will be able to stimulate blood flow then work superficially over the entire body.
Being open minded to changes is also a helpful tip. If for example your patient is not quite receiving or gaining any positive improvements from the therapy you are giving him or her, it could be best to reevaluate your treatment and consider a different pressure or duration of the treatment. The technique might also have to vary in order for your patient to reap the benefits of a proper massage. This reevaluation typically is done after four to six weeks of treatment in order to also give ample time for the treatment to work.
One major difference in the treatment of both fibromyalgia and CMPS is that those with fibromyalgia are the ones who are more than likely to need the reevaluation as CMPS patients more naturally benefit for the deep tissue massage.
Massage Therapy Works, But You Must Know How To Do It
There are many types of massage therapists but because there are those that are not quite as skilled as others, patients of fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain disorder need to find one who is schooled in the techniques needed in order to help you relieve some of that unwanted physical pain. Patients should also take this a step further by finding a massage therapist who would be able to make the necessary adjustments or changes in their style and technique. This again is more important to patients who suffer from fibromyalgia considering that the light touch of the skin massage is a trickier style as opposed to that from patients who suffer from chronic myofascial pain disorder.