Q: What is it that sells aspirin and other pain medications?
A: The promise of "Quick, fast pain relief!"
Heaven forbid we should feel discomfort for more than a day ... or even THAT long!
Now don't get me wrong, I dislike pain as much as the next guy (or gal, as the case may be), but there's more to pain than just trying to make it go away.
An Unwelcome Teacher
There are two ways to approach pain...
One of them is this: "Pain is the enemy!" According to this view, pain itself is the problem. Therefore, if you make the pain disappear, you have solved the problem. Pain killers, muscle relaxers, sleep tonics and alcohol are all fine solutions, if pain is the enemy. And they work just fine, all the way up to surgery!
The second approach is this: "Pain is my tutor." While less dramatic and not nearly as exciting as having an enemy, it makes a lot more sense. Pain is your body telling you that something is wrong, that something is not as it should be. According to this view, pain is no more 'the problem' than is the smoke alarm which loudly announces that there's a fire in the kitchen.
Let Me Ask You a Question
If there was a fire in your kitchen, and the fire truck pulled up in front of your house, and a fire fighter came running in your front door and began spraying the smoke alarm until it finally stopped making all that noise ... and then proceeded to leave while the fire was still burning out of control in your kitchen ... would you be satisfied?
Putting out the alarm instead of addressing the problem is exactly what pain-killers, muscle-relaxers and anti-inflammatories do, which allows the problem to become worse over time.
The Role of What I do
As a massage therapist, I do more than just help you relax. My job is to investigate your pain, to listen to it and see where it leads us. Rather than mask it, I work with it. In the world of aches and pains, moans and groans, pain is an ally, not a nemesis.
I'll ask you things like: Is it a sharp pain or a dull pain. Does it stay in one spot or does it radiate outward? If so, where does it travel? I'll ask: How long have you had it? Did it show up all at once, or has it been there for a while, off and on?
These questions make pain our guide, leading us to the problem. There may be "trigger points" in the belly of a muscle, or scar-tissue built up in a tendon or ligament. You may have a postural problem that needs addressing or fascia that needs to be "released".
Address THOSE issues and eventually the alarm will turn off on it's own.
My job is to "open up" trigger-points, "break down" scar tissue, and "release" fascia using massage and bodywork techniques such as Deep Tissue work, STR (Soft Tissue Relase), Cross-Fibre Friction, and MFR (Miofascial Release).
My clients experience pain relief, not because I turn the pain off, but because I fix what's causing it. But more than that, I explain to them what I've done, and why. This way, they have a better understanding of themselves, and why they hurt.
Knowledge is Power
I want my clients to learn how to listen, and by that, I mean really LISTEN to their pain, rather than be afraid, or worse yet, hate it. (Never hate your body!) When one learns to listen, one gains knowledge. And with that knowledge, you can solve the problem, instead of masking it.
So listen to your aches, and pay attention to your pains. They are there for a reason. Believe it or not, they're trying to protect you. Who knows? They may just be telling you to call me to set up an appointment! :)