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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Living Healthy with Chronic Pain

Mar 04, 2016 04:57PM ● By Kelly McCaffrey, LMT

There are many reasons people have chronic pain, including car accidents, repetitive stress injuries, illness, poor posture habits and more. Many people live day in and day out trying to ignore the nagging tension in their neck or the ache in their low back. Massage can help.

To understand pain in the body, it is important to seek the answers to several questions. What caused the pain—an injury, trauma or illness? When did the pain begin and how long have you felt it? Does the pain radiate? Is the pain confined to a local area? What makes the pain better or worse?

Now consider how the body functions. The main goal of our body is to maintain a level of homeostasis or a state of equilibrium. Our body wants to run like a tight ship, engine humming, all the gears oiled, and it’s full steam ahead.

When our nervous system receives a message of pain, we begin to slow the ship and look to the malfunction. The body will begin to tense its muscles in the surrounding area of pain, guarding and bracing the area in a defense mechanism. At first, pain is a positive warning; something isn’t functioning efficiently and we need to look at why. However, many of us tend to ignore the warning and, before you know it, you can’t turn your neck or stand up straight. Now your body has gotten your attention.

But what do you do now? Massage therapy is one of the leading therapies that will help with chronic pain or tension in the body. Massage therapy calms the nervous system by increasing circulation of blood, decreasing muscles spasms, and helping with circulation of the lymphatic system. Another benefit is increasing the body-mind connection, becoming aware of areas of tension, and practicing on letting those areas release and let go of stress or tension.

Therapeutic massage can be in the form of a 90-minute massage session or as little as a 10-minute chair massage. There are many types of therapeutic massage, including Swedish, deep tissue, orthopedic massage, acupressure and others. Finding the type of massage that works for you and the length of time needed is a discussion to have with a licensed massage therapist. Developing a routine for receiving massage therapy on a regular basis will help keep chronic pain and tension at bay. This way you can keep your body in ship shape and ready for your daily journey in life.

Kelly McCaffrey has been working as a licensed massage therapist for over 20 years and teaching at Ridley-Lowell Business & Technical Institute’s massage program for six years. McCaffrey specializes in relaxation and mind-body connection massage therapy. Call 203-797-0551 for an appointment in the Ridley-Lowell student clinic. Location: 44 Shelter Rock Rd, Danbury.