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Can Massage Reduce Fibromyalgia Pain?

Americans find themselves in an E.R. for acute pain more than any other medical issue. Fibromyalgia pain, in particular, affects thousands of Americans and it can be debilitating. Before turning to prescription drugs, many fibromyalgia sufferers prefer to explore all other options including alternative medicine.

A review and meta-analysis, recently published in the journal Pain Medicine, examined the use of massage to help with various types of pain, including; fibromyalgia pain, muscle pain, bone pain, headaches, deep internal pain, and spinal cord pain. The review included 67 studies.

Research Says Massage Is ‘Frequently Beneficial’

The review stated that massage therapy relieves pain better in contrast to getting no treatment at all. Massage is frequently beneficial and came with few side effects and beyond just relieving pain, it was reported that massage also reduced general anxiety and improved the overall quality of life. One study demonstrated not only a significant reduction in pain levels, but also better relaxation, sleep, emotional health, faster recovery and improved overall healing.

How Massage Affects Pain

Exactly how massage manipulation alleviates pain is something of a mystery, but it involves molding the soft tissues. Likely, many mechanisms contribute to its effect. Factors that are affected by massage include biomechanical, physiological, neurological and psychological aspects of the individual. Studies showed massage reduced inflammation and promoted mitochondrial biogenesis in the skeletal muscle—the process by which cells increase their individual mitochondrial mass and copy number.

A survey from the American Hospital Association (AHA) found that 70% of hospitals are now offering massage therapy to their patients. If patients try massage therapy and find they’re not getting relief, they may benefit from altering the dose and frequency. There are other variables that impact massage effectiveness as well, such as the technique used and the skill level of the massage therapist.

Massage along with more traditional forms of acute pain alleviation provided at National Spine & Pain Centers, can produce a well-rounded treatment plan. Read more about massage as an option to complement your pain management regimen.